bodh gaya (bihar), feb 8 (ians) sri lankan president mahinda rajapaksa flew into india friday and prayed here at a temple site where lord buddha attained enlightenment.
the president, whose two-day visit has sparked scattered protests in india, drove to the mahabodhi temple shortly after his flight from colombo landed at gaya town, about 10 km from patna.
bihar chief minister nitish kumar received him and his officials, indian authorities said.
"the president and his delegation spent nearly an hour (at the temple)," a police official told ians.
security personnel and security forces deployed by the state government did not allow journalists to talk to him.
according to a police official, over a dozen people, mostly workers of the communist party of india marxist leninist (cpi-ml), staged a protest near the temple minutes before his visit.
the protesters shouted slogans and tried to stage a sit-in but police detained them.
bodh gaya's 1,500-year-old mahabodhi temple is considered the holiest buddhist shrine. it was declared a unesco world heritage site in 2002.
from bodh gaya, rajapaksa flew to tirupati in andhra pradesh to pray at the revered balaji temple.
along with his family members, rajapaksa arrived at renigunta airport here by a special aircraft and drove by road to the revered temple atop tirumala hills amid tight security, officials said.
senior officials of the district administration and tirumala tirupati devasthanam (ttd) accorded him a warm welcome.
rajapaksa will be staying the night at ttd's sri padmavathi guest house and worship lord venkateswara early saturday. he will take part in the 'suprabhatha seva' at 3 a.m. saturday, and fly out to colombo later in the morning.
despite the massive security arrangements and prohibitory orders, protestors managed to reach close to the road route before the sri lankan president's convoy passed and raised slogans 'rajapaksa go back'.
police arrested over 100 protesters. police sources said hundreds of protesters may have sneaked into tirupati, about 50 km from the tamil nadu border and 135 km from chennai.
in new delhi, mdmk general secretary vaiko, a strong supporter of the now vanquished tamil tigers, led a noisy protest.
holding placards demanding "strict action against rajapaksa" and shouting slogans against him, vaiko and his supporters gathered on parliament street in the heart of delhi.
they denounced rajapaksa for ruling out autonomy for tamil areas. about 130 people were detained and let off after three hours.
in chennai, tamil nadu chief minister j. jayalalithaa blamed prime minister manmohan singh for the watered down us resolution pulling up sri lanka at the un human rights council meet last year.
the chief minister urged the indian government to table a resolution on violation of human rights in sri lanka at the un.
also in chennai, dmk president m. karunanidhi accused rajapaksa of not only trying to obliterate tamils in the island but also their culture, tradition and the tamil language itself.
leading a massive protest held by tamil eelam supporters organisation (teso), he said colombo was changing even the names of villages with tamil names to sinhalese.
thousands of cadres belonging to dmk, vck and other tamil outfits took part in the protest wearing black shirts.
tamil groups also protested outside the sri lankan consulate in chennai. on thursday, a group of people stoned the bank of ceylon office in the city injuring two employees.
around 30 members of vck party were taken into custody near the tamil nadu-andhra border for holding protests.
tamil activists were taken into custody in hosur in karnataka for protesting on railway tracks.
lawyers in some districts like villupuram, dindugul and sivaganga in tamil nadu boycotted the courts opposing rajapaksa's visit and burnt his effigies.
the sri lankan president has been quoted as saying that he is opposed to granting autonomy to provinces, remarks that are widely seen as going back on promises made earlier to indian leaders.