Amitabh Bachchan visits Tirupati before son's marriage ...


Indo-Asian News Service

Tirupati, April 15 (IANS) Ahead of his son Abhishek's marriage with Aishwarya Rai, Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan Sunday offered special prayers at the venerated Tirupati temple here.

Accompanied by friends, industrialist Anil Ambani and politician Amar Singh, Amitabh reached the temple located on the Tirumala Hills and sought the blessings of Lord Venkateswara, also known as Lord Balaji, the presiding deity.

The superstar placed the first wedding invitation card at the feet of the deity seeking blessings for Abhishek and Aishwarya, who are to tie the knot on April 20.

The trio made a donation of Rs.5.1 million each to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which runs the affairs of the country's richest temple, for education of poor children and treatment of poor patients.

"Since there is a wedding in the family and at the same time elections are also being held in Uttar Pradesh we offered prayers to seek blessings of Lord Balaji. We are strong believers in Lord Balaji," said Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh.

Anil, his wife Tina, and Amar Singh are among the select group of people invited by Amitabh for the wedding.

Anil Ambani and Amar Singh had also accompanied Amitabh when he had visited the temple in December 2005 to offer prayers after recovering from serious health problems.

The Bollywood superstar had then promised to offer diamonds worth Rs.90 million to the deity.

TTD officials, who welcomed the trio as they reached the temple premises, took them to the sanctum sanctorum through the special entrance for VVIPs.

Temple sources said the visit by the VVIPs did not cause any inconvenience to thousands of common devotees standing for 'darshan'.

About 50,000 people offer prayers at the temple every day and on special occasions the number cross 100,000.

The devotees offer prayers and make huge offerings on fulfilment of their wishes, recovery from health problems, victory in elections or success in business or other missions.