President Ram Nath Kovind began his two-day visit to Uttarakhand today by worshipping the holy Ganga river along with his family at Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar amid heavy rain.
Kovind was accompanied by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, Governor K K Paul, state assembly speaker Premchand Aggarwal and seven family members including his wife, son and daughter-in-law at Har ki Pauris famous Brahmakund.
The president also took a pledge for Ganga conservation. Visibly overwhelmed by the experience, he described his visit in Ganga Sabhas visitors book as "memorable".
उत्तराखंड में जन्मे राजनेताओं, जैसे गोविन्द बल्लभ पंत और हेमवती नंदन बहुगुणा, ने पूरे देश पर अपनी अमिट छाप छोड़ी है — राष्ट्रपति कोविन्द— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) September 23, 2017
Later, at a function held by the Divya Prem Seva Ashram in his honour, the president said the Ganga is the countrys identity and efforts should be made to keep the ancient river clean.
"India is not known because of the India Gate, or the Taj Mahal or the Lal Quila. It is known because of the Ganga, its great saints and seers. Dont you remember the song Hum us Desh ke wasi hain jis Desh mein Ganga behti hai," he said.
The president, who is scheduled to visit the Himalayan shrines of Kedarnath and Badrinath tomorrow, said he was very keen to pay obeisance at the famed temples but may not be able to go because of the rainy weather.
"If the weather permits I will go. If it doesnt I will visit them (temples) later, may be after three months. Let us see how the weather is tomorrow," he said.
Earlier, Kovind arrived in an IAF plane at the Jollygrant Airport and left in a convoy for Haridwar in the company of the chief minister and the governor. He will spend the night at the Raj Bhawan in Dehradun.