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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Apr 2014

Rajapaksa prays for team at Tirupati

IANS  Tirupati, April 02, 2011
First Published: 11:55 IST(2/4/2011) | Last Updated: 03:10 IST(3/4/2011)

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday left for Mumbai to watch the World Cup final, but not before praying at Tirumala temple here for his team's success in the match against India.

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Accompanied by his wife, the visiting dignitary, who had a 'darshan' of Lord Venkateswara and offered special puja Friday evening, participated in the special rituals Saturday morning.

Rajapaksa, an ardent devotee of the deity, participated in 'suprabhatam', the first rituals of the day amidst chanting of the Vedic hymns. According to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which manages the affairs of India's richest temple, suprabhatam seva is performed to wake up the Lord from his celestial sleep.

The Sri Lankan president stayed overnight atop Tirumala Hills after offering prayers Friday evening.

Rajapaksa later left for Mumbai by the special aircraft from the Renigunta airport. He will watch the final at the Wankhede Stadium along with his Indian counterpart Pratibha Patil.

A large number of Indian fans too offered prayers and organised special 'yagyams' in the temple town. Holding the Indian flag and pictures of players, they also took out a huge rally.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, himself a cricket player during his college days, also visited Tirupati to offer prayers. However, officials said his visit was a routine one and had nothing to do with the match.

Reddy told reporters he was confident that India would win the World Cup after 29 years. He conveyed his best wishes to the team.

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