Prime Minister Narendra Modi, attired in a dhoti and angavastram, the traditional dress code of the Tamils, welcomed visiting Chinese President at Arjuna’s penance in the coastal city of Mamallapuram on Friday evening.
Prime Minister Modi, who had arrived in Chennai in a kurta earlier in the day, switched over to dhoti, half-sleeve shirt with an angavastram added to the grace – all in pearl white. The dhoti and the angavastram had a green border. At times, he is seen adjusting the angavastram.
Alighting from his car, Modi walked against the backdrop of Arjuna’s penance, where he welcomed Xi, who was in a pair of dark trousers and shirt without a tie or coat, making it truly informal.
Both leaders shook hands more than once. The prime minister appeared comfortable walking around in the traditional Tamil attire, something that can sometimes be kind of a feat for people wearing it for the first time.
PM Modi led the Chinese President along the rock-cut Krishna Mantap, which has sculptures of Lord Krishna holding aloft the Govardhan hillock to save the residents of Brindavan from the fury of rain, among others. The two leaders spent considerable time with Xi looking spell bound at the architectural marvel.
The prime minister also explained the legend behind Arjuna’s penance – 36 ft high and 75 ft wide panel with 154 figures, contiguous to the Krishna Mantap.
Then they moved to Krishna’s ‘butter ball’, a gigantic granite boulder precariously perched on a rocky slope in a serendipitous position. According to mythology and oral tradition, it is a drop of butter from Lord Krishna, who as a baby is known for his fondness for butter, which he often steals.
The two leaders posed for photographs with the huge boulder in the backdrop. PM Modi continued with his role of a guide for the day, explaining the Pallava-era sculptures and temples with distinctive Dravidian style vimana (tower), which remain the zenith of Indian art in stone.
The two leaders drove down to the Pancha Rathas, five rock-cut temples where PM Modi spoke about the architectural nuances of Pallava glory. They later relished a tender coconut with a straw at the Pancha Ratha complex.
Oct 11, 2019 19:17 IST