Mukherjee accorded civic reception in Janakpur

Kathmandu, Nov 4 (IANS) Visiting Indian President Pranab Mukherjee was accorded a civic reception in the southern Nepali city of Janakpur, known for the famed Ram-Janaki temple.

Janakpur Municipality authorities held the civic reception in honour of the Indian head of state on behalf of the people of the temple town.

“I am really grateful to the people of Janakpur,” Mukherjee said.

The holy land of Janakpur, the birthplace of Lord Rama’s consort Sita, has inspired Indians for research, promoted culture and enriched knowledge, he said.

Mukherjee highlighted the religious and cultural aspects of Janakpur and its surrounding areas, saying India was planning several works to boost tourism in the region.

India is constructing two dharamshalas in Janakpur and integrated checkposts in Birgunj and Biratnagar.

Speaking on the occasion, Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Bimalendra Nidhi said India should help in the multifaceted development of Janakpur due to its close geographical and cultural proximity and urged him to get Janakpur listed in the must-visit religious sites in Nepal.

At the function, the Indian President was given a key to Janakpur city, denoting that he will always be welcome in the holy city.

Earlier, the visiting President performed a special ‘puja’ before the golden idols of Lord Ram and Sita in the Ram-Janaki temple’s sanctum sanctorum as per vedic rituals.

Mukherjee is the third Indian President to perform religious prayers at the temple, after Neelam Sanjiva Reddy and Giani Zail Singh.

He also paid obeisance to other gods and goddesses in the temple premises.

Temple chief priest (Mahanta) Ram Tapeshwar welcomed President Mukherjee as per vedic rituals and Maithli culture.

Earlier, Mukherjee left Kathmandu for Janakpur by a mountain flight of Buddha Air with his delegation and senior Nepali officials.

After the Janakpur function, the President was scheduled to leave for Pokhara, another famous tourist city of Nepal known as ‘City of Lakes’.

Here, Mukherjee was to address over 10,000 Indian ex-Gurkhas at the Pension Paying Office and interact with them.