Ahead of his talks with Nepal's Prime Minister GP Koirala, Maoist leader Prachanda made a surprise visit to a famous Hindu temple near here and expressed hope of a positive outcome.
Prachanda, whose real name is Pushpakamal Dahal, and his wife visited the Manakamana temple, situated some 175 km west of here, on Thursday.
"I wanted to express my wish for the success of the Summit Talks to be held between Koirala and me (on Sunday) from this historical place," he told reporters.
"I am here to express the Nepalese people's desire for the successful conclusion of the talk."
The temple visit by Prachanda, who is a Brahmin by birth but is inspired by the philosophy of revolutionary communist leader Mao-Tsetung, surprised many but the rebel leader was quick to deny that he had come to the temple for a "religious purpose."
"I came here for scientific purpose and I want to learn how cable car operates," said Prachanda after his maiden ride on the country's only cable car.
Hindu devotees visit the temple of Manakamana goddess situated on a hill top in the Gorkha district to seek fulfilment of their wishes.
Prachanda visited the temple on the country's only cable car "Mankamana Cable Car" and took a round of the temple, but did not enter it for worshipping, sources said.
The Seven-Party Alliance government and the Maoist leaders are formally meeting here on Sunday for the second time after the ceasefire to settle key issues including arms management, finalising interim Constitution, forming an interim government inclusive of Maoists, deciding modalities of the constituent assembly election and to determine the position of the King.