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Canadian PM, wife 'marry again' in Bangalore

G. Manjusainath, Bangalore, Nov 8, 2012, DHNS: 9:22 IST
Bengaluru : Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen during a visit to the historic Sree Someshwara Temple in Bengaluru on Thursday. PTI Photo
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his spouse Laureen to the City had a dramatic matrimonial moment to it, during their visit to the Someshwara temple in Ulsoor on Thursday.

The Harpers sliced a neat 15 minutes off their hectic schedule in the City to visit the 1,800-year-old temple. Garlanding the idol of Goddess Kamakshi, the couple’s visit took a dramatic turn when the two garlanded each other to reaffirm their marital bond in the ancient temple. “This is our marriage for the second time,” sources quoted the Canadian Prime Minister as telling his better-half.

The couple arrived at the temple at about 5.25 pm and stayed in the religious complex for 15 minutes. Respecting tradition, they took off their footwear and washed their feet before they entered the place of worship.

Sources in the temple the Canadian First Couple did not enter the sanctum sanctorum.

To make the arrival of the high profile visitors memorable, the temple management opened Kannadi Uyyale, displayed publicly on rare occasions.

The temple priest then offered Mangalarathi, a shawl and Prasadam to the Harpers. The couple were gifted with a Shiva-Parvathi idol made of sandalwood.

The temple’s history apparently impressed the Canadian Prime Minister. He was informed that the temple was built by the rulers of Chola dynasty about 1,800 years ago. Five hundred years ago, Kempe Gowda, the founder of Bangalore, renovated the temple and built a boundary wall around it. The intricate carvings, especially the neatly chiselled 48 pillars of the temple also had the couple raving about the architecture.

The VVIPs’ visit imposed a curfew-like situation all around the temple complex. Shops were shut down and the residents were directed to remain within their homes.

Vehicle movement was blocked, and for a while, Ulsoor resembled a police cantonment. A heavy deployment of men-in-uniform was in place to ensure foolproof security. Assisting them was a special team of security personnel from the Centre and Canadian security officers.

The Canadian Prime Minister and his wife have turned their visit to India into a virtual religious tour. On Wednesday, they visited the Golden Temple at Amritsar, the most revered shrine of the Sikh community and offered tribute to the ten Sikh Gurus and the Guru Granth Sahib.

Canada has a substantial population of Punjabis and South Indians. The Harpers arrived in Bangalore at 11 am at the Bangalore International Airport and visited Raj Bhavan and Forum Mall earlier in the day.

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