Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday offered prayers at the famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara at nearby Tirumala.
On arrival at the ancient shrine, Wickremesinghe and his wife Maitree were accorded a traditional welcome by the temple priests and functionaries, who later conducted them to the sanctum sanctorum of the 2000-year-old shrine, Chadalawada Krishnamurthy, Chairman of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) told PTI.
The Sri Lankan Prime Minister and his wife together made an offering in the hundi (offering box) of the shrine, where they spent over 20 minutes, he said.
He was accompanied by Lankan ministers D M Swaminathan, Palani Digambaram and other officials during his 15-hour spiritual visit here.
After offering worship, Wickremesinghe was honoured with a sacred silk cloth besides the holy laddu prasadam and Theertham (celestial water) in a tiny bottle, while the priests, amid chanting vedic hymns, blessed him at the sprawling Rangamandapam in the temple, the Chairman said.
Wickremesinghe flew in to the Renigunta airport, 20 km from here, by a special chopper from Chennai on Wednesday evening and drove straight to the sacred hills.
After an overnight stay, the Lankan PM paid obeisance to Lord Venkateswara this morning and immediately left for Chennai to fly back to Sri Lanka, he said.
The last visit of Wickremesinghe to the temple in his capacity as Prime Minister was in 2002. Tight security arrangements were put in place here and at the airport.