President Ram Nath Kovind and his family members Saturday chanted “Jai Jagannth” as special servitors tied a ‘bana’ (flag) on the 'Neela Chakra' atop Shree Mandir in Puri in his name after a ‘darshan’ of the idols of Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath. The president accompanied by first lady Sabita Kovind and family members watched the special 'chunara' servitor climb the 213 feet high 12th century temple and tie the flag on the Neela Chakra, the wheel atop it, praying for the well-being of the nation, said Narayan Gochhikar, the traditional priest of Kovind.
Tying the 'bana’ is a special ritual held every day afternoon in the temple. The president stood as the flag was tied on the Neela Chakra and he along with those who accompanied him raised their hands and chanted "Jai Jagannath" invoking the blessings of the diety, Gochhikar said.
They also visited the seats of Maa Bimala and Maa Laxmi in the premises of the temple, he said. The President, who visited the shrine for the third time since 2018, also visited the 'Mukti Mandap’ (the seat of salvation) in the temple premises.
Earlier on his arrival at the temple's Lion Gate (main gate) with his family, Kovind was greeted by Krishan Kumar, the chief administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration and others. The Gajapati Maharaja of Puri Divya Singh Deb, who is the titular king was not present to greet the president as he has tested positive for COVID-19.
Kumar said that the temple was closed to the public for two hours from 4 pm in view of the security reasons. Kovind, who is on a two-day visit to Puri, will spend night at the Raj Bhavan in Puri and attend a function marking 150th birth anniversary of Goudiya Mission founder Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada on Sunday.
With PTI Inputs