The President performed 'darshan' at the cave shrine this afternoon and has returned to Jammu, a police officer said here today. He signed the visitors' book and waved to other pilgrims, who had queued up to see him. He flew in an army helicopter from Jammu's technical airport and landed at the newly-constructed VVIP helipad at Panchi area in Trikuta hills around noon time, where he inaugurated the Shridhar Bhawan Elevator and the Panchi Helipad.
Along with top officers, particularly Governor N N Vohra, Chairman, Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (MVDSB), the President's entourage drove in a convoy of six battery- operated cars to the Bhawan and later they had 'darshan' at the cave shrine. Mukherjee is scheduled to fly back to New Delhi late this afternoon after a lunch at the Raj Bhawan.
The President is on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir and had arrived in the state yesterday. The new Panchi helipad has reduced the distance for pilgrims visiting the cave shrine by air. It is located at distance of 2.8 km from the Bhawan.
The elevator can be used by the aged and infirm devotees to reach the shrine without having to climb the 127 steps up the mountainous trek.
The President presided over the 14th convocation of the Jammu University yesterday, where 67 degrees and 68 medals were awarded to meritorious students.