President alights from car on road, greets cultural artistes in Guwahati
Guwahati: Shortly after arriving for a three-day visit to Assam, President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday halted his cavalcade and got down from his bullet-proof car to greet artistes performing cultural programmes for him beside the road near the airport here.
On the first day of his visit, the President took part in a series of programmes including the launch of the 400th birth anniversary celebration of legendary Ahom general Lachit Borphukan.
Kovind, accompanied by his wife and daughter, landed at the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati in a special Indian Air Force flight, and he was accorded a warm welcome by Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and senior officials.
The state government had arranged various cultural programmes representing different tribes and communities of the state along the road just outside the airport.
After seeing the programmes, the President stopped his carcade and alighted from his vehicle to greet the artistes and people waiting to have a glimpse of the First Citizen of India.
"Since I reached Guwahati this morning, the way people of Assam have welcomed me has touched my heart. I will cherish this always," he said at a function later.
Kovind said that the entire country should learn from Assam how to welcome "its own people" in the state.
He thanked the governor and the chief minister for the programmes.
"Touched by Hon'ble President Shri Ram Nath Kovind ji's gesture as he stepped out of his vehicle to acknowledge the warm & colourful reception at the airport. The President was given a glimpse of Assam's vibrant tradition as cultural troupes performed along the airport road," Sarma said in a Twitter post.
From the airport, Kovind directly went to Kamakhya Temple atop Nilachal Hill and offered prayers. Mukhi, Sarma and other state ministers accompanied him inside the temple, where the entry of media was prohibited.
After offering prayers, he went to the Koinadhora State Guest House, where he had his lunch, took a rest and interacted with the officials.
In the evening, the President inaugurated the year-long 400th birth anniversary celebrations of legendary Ahom general Lachit Borphukan in Guwahati.
Lachit Borphukan was a commander in the Ahom kingdom in Assam known for his leadership and valour in the 1671 Battle of Saraighat that thwarted a drawn-out attempt by Mughal forces under the command of Ramsingh I to take back Kamrup now modern day Guwahati.
At the same function held in Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra auditorium, he laid the foundation of Alaboi War Memorial, to be constructed at Dadara in Kamrup district of Assam.
Besides, Kovind also launched the beautification and repair work of Lachit Borphukan's 'maidam' (burial ground) at Teok in Jorhat district.
On Saturday, the President will address the 19th convocation of Tezpur University in Sonitpur district. After that, he will visit the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve and take a jeep safari at the Bagori range.
During his two-day stay in the Park, he will view a photo and archival exhibition on conservation there, besides discussing various government initiatives to protect the famed forest.
After spending the night at the Assam Police Guest House in Kaziranga National Park on Saturday night, Kovind and his family will take an elephant safari on Sunday morning. He will leave Assam later that day.