Friday, December 7, 2007

Abhishek, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan pray at Tirupati temple

Newly-wed Bollywood star couple Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Sunday prayed at the Tirupati temple here, making their first public appearance after their high-profile wedding two days ago.

Accompanied by family members and friends, the couple spent 20 minutes at the Ranganayaka Mandapam of the temple and prayed to Lord Balaji, the presiding deity. To the chants of Vedic hymns by 11 priests, the couple offered prayers for a happy married life.

A smiling Aishwarya was clad in a golden coloured sari and sported the traditional vermilion mark on her forehead signifying marriage, while Abhishek was attired in a white kurta pyjama.

Both cheerfully waved to the huge crowds in the temple complex.

Abhishek’s father and Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan and his mother Jaya Bachchan also prayed at the temple.

Among others in the entourage were Abhishek’s sister Shweta, her children, industrialist Anil Ambani, his wife Tina and politician Amar Singh.

Hundreds of devotees scrambled to catch a glimpse of the newly-weds. Security personnel had a tough time keeping the crowds at bay.

The Bachchans flew into Renigunta airport near here in the morning by a chartered aircraft from Mumbai and drove to the temple. After spending two hours in the temple town, they flew back to Mumbai.

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which manages the affairs of the temple, had made elaborate arrangements for the VIP guests.

Amitabh, a staunch devotee of Lord Balaji, visited the temple April 15. He had also placed the first wedding invitation card at the feet of the deity seeking blessings for the couple.

Amitabh, Anil Ambani and Amar Singh had then each donated Rs.5.1 million each to the temple trust for education of poor children and treatment of poor patients.

The Bollywood icon had also visited the temple in December 2005 to pray after recovering from serious health problems.

About 50,000 people pray at the temple every day. On special occasions the number crosses the 100,000 mark.

Indo-Asian News Service

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