Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday attended early morning prayers at the Golden Temple, the holiest of Sikh shrines in Amritsar.
Reaching the 16th century shrine at around 6.15 am, the prime minister, who landed in Amritsar on Tuesday night for a one-day trip, walked the entire parikrama (circle) of the shrine before entering the sanctum sanctorum.
After praying and bowing before the Sikh holy book — Guru Granth Sahib — the prime minister sat down to listen to kirtans (prayer hymns) sung by religious singers called raagis.
Manmohan Singh, who was at the Golden Temple for one-and-a-half hours, received a saffron scarf from the priests at the shrine.
He was accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and other state ministers.
All roads leading to the complex — located in a crowded part of this historic city — were sealed for vehicular traffic by security agencies.
Over 10,000 policemen from central forces and Punjab police have been stationed across the city for the prime minister's brief visit.
Manmohan Singh, who leaves Amritsar on Wednesday afternoon, will address a public rally at Ranjit Avenue in Amritsar where he will also launch several projects for the state.
The visit is significant for the ruling Congress in Punjab as state assembly polls are to be held in February-March and the model code of conduct has still not come into force.