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Veshti, nariyal pani, temple hopping: Modi-Xi’s first day, many shows

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday met Chinese President Xi Jinping in the historic coastal city of Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu for the second informal summit. Both the leaders had arrived in Chennai on Friday, following which they headed towards Mamallapuram.

The summit is a follow up to the inaugural meet which was held in Wuhan from April 27 to 28, 2018.

The Chinese president who landed at Chennai around 1.30 pm on Friday drove down 55 km from Chennai to Mamallapuram along the east coast road in his custom-built Hongqi L 5 black limousine. The prime minister chose Mamallapuram as the venue for the second informal summit to stress on the civilisational ties between India and China going back over 2,000 years.

After receiving Xi Jinping, PM Narendra Modi, who was donning a Tamil traditional ‘veshti’ (dhoti), a shawl, and a shirt, shook hands with the Chinese president as the two leaders exchanged pleasantries. PM Modi then took the Chinese president on a cultural tour at the magnificent relief structure Arjuna’s Penance monument.

The two shook hands almost 10 times and posed in front of the ancient monuments from the Arjuna’s Penance to Krishna’s butter ball.

After spending some time at the Arjuna’s Penance monument, PM Modi and Xi Jinping visited the Krishna’s Butterball – a large boulder placed on a slope – and shook hands before moving on to the Pancha Ratha monuments.

There was ”coconut pe charcha” at the Panch Rathas before the two went to the shore temple to together watch a display of rich Tamil culture. PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping were assisted by one translator from each side.

PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping then attended a 30-minute cultural programme at the Shore Temple at Mamallapuram. The cultural programme at the shore temple included Alarippu, a dance performance symbolising offering respect to God and teacher and Purappadu, a component of the initial part of Kathakali, a traditional Indian dance. This was followed by Sethubsndhanam, an excerpt from Ramayanam, depicting the building of a bridge for Shri Ram to cross to Sri Lanka to defeat Ravana and rescue Sita. A performance-based on Sant Kabir’s Bhajo re Bhaiya Ram Govind Hari followed.

While giving a tour to the Chinese president, PM Modi explained the history of each monument to Xi Jinping. The prime minister and the Chinese president then had traditional Tamil Nadu cuisine for dinner. Eight delegates from both the sides were also invited for the dinner.

Photo: Twitter/MEAIndia

A traditional south Indian spread, including the trademark sambhar, was part of the menu for Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping on Friday when the Indian Prime Minister hosted the Chinese President for dinner on the first day of their second informal meet.

According to available information, the dinner included Thakkali Rasam, Malabar Lobster, Kori Kempu (chicken strips tossed with curd and chilli) and Mutton Ularthiyadu (mutton cubes cooked with coconut). For the vegetarians, the dinner included Arachavitta Sambar, Pacha Sundakai Aricha Kozhambu (pea aubergine with tamarind and jaggery).

The sweets included Ada Prashaman, Kavanarasi Halwa and Millani ice-cream.

Chinese Premier Xi Jinping’s dinner menu

Earlier in the day, a brief cultural event was organized at the airport to welcome President Xi as he arrived in India.

On Tuesday, PM Modi and President Xi will have a comprehensive one-on-one at Fisherman’s Cove Resort in Chennai. The meeting will be followed by a delegation-level talk between the two countries. The two leaders then will issue separate statements regarding the informal summit.

(With agency inputs)


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