Puri: Late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who is referred as the ‘Bhishma Pitamah’ and ‘tallest leader’ had close connection with pilgrim town Puri in Odisha.
He had visited Sri Mandir in Puri several times to offer prayer to Lord Jagannath.
The people will never forget the moment on April 17, 1998, when the then Prime Minister Vajpayee had walked barefoot to Sri Mandir from Raja Nahar (Gajapati King’s palace) in Puri to have darshan of Lord Jagannath.
The then district collector Nitin Chandra and senior officials were waiting to welcome the PM at Singhadwar (main entrance gate) of the Jagannath Temple, but Vajpayee did not care about the official reception. He moved toward the crowd who were eagerly waving hands at him, breaking protocol.
“Vajpayee has paid visit to Puri many a time. He had ‘abadha’ on premises of the temple,” told senior BJP leader Krushna Chandra Jagdeb.
Recalling his experience with Vajpayee, he said, “Once I had taken him to Konark where he practised meditation early in the morning at around 4.00 am at Chandrabhaga. Witnessing the sunrise on the beach, Vajpayeeji was overwhelmed and termed the place as ‘the meditation soil in true sense’.”
He also loved the coconut water at Konark. He not only consumed it, but also directed all present around him to have it during visit to the Sun Temple. As a result, the coconut water in all the shops in front of the temple were finished, Jagdeb said.