Prime Minister Narendra Modi took Chinese President Xi Jinping on a guided tour of the UNESCO declared heritage monuments at Mamalllapuram.
Clad in the Tamilian attire of white veshti (dhoti), white shirt and an angavastram in the shoulder, Modi received Jinping at Arjuna's Penance from where the tour started. This was followed by Krishna's Butter Ball, Five Rathas and finally at the Shore Temple. Modi was seen explaining in detail the various aspects of the monuments.
Both the leaders enjoyed a dance performance by students of Kalakshetra, after which they will be heading for dinner at a private hotel in Mamallapuram. On Saturday morning, both the leaders will have a private meeting following by a bilateral talks.
Upon arrival, Chinese President Xi Jinping was treated to Tamil cultural performances by folk dancers and Bharatanatyam artistes while scores of children greeted him by waving Indian and Chinese flags. Later drove to seaside resort town of Mamallapuram on Friday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who reached Mamallapuram ahead of Xi by a chopper, received the Chinese leader at Arjuna’s penance monument.
Earlier, Xi was accorded a red carpet welcome at the airport here on his arrival and received by Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister K Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minsiter O Panneerselvam and Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal.
About 500 Tamil folk artistes rendered performances including “tappattam,” and “poi kal kuthirai” while a group of colourfully dressed women presented a Bharatanatyam programme to the accompaniment of ‘thavil’ and ‘nadaswaram’ (traditional percussion and wind instruments respectively) music.
A smiling Xi waved at the artistes as he paused briefly before moving on slowly. Temple priests with traditional honours greeted him before he boarded his car. As he exited through the VVIP Gate No. 5, the Chinese leader was greeted by school children, lined up on the sides of the road, who waved Chinese and Indian flags.
From the airport, Xi arrived at the ITC Grand Chola Hotel in Guindy, his place of stay here, within a few minutes, covering the distance of about five kilometers.
After a brief stay at the hotel, the Chinese premier left for Mamallapuram, about 50 kilometer away by road around 4.05 pm and arrived at the seaside town at 5 pm.
In a number of locations along the East Coast Road, artistes rendered folk performances and played traditional music to welcome Xi.
People, who waited on road sides in many locations, waved at the visiting Chinese leader with placards and flags of India and China welcoming him.
Nearly 100 delegates accompany the Chinese President. Some of prominent delegates include Ding Xuexiang, Member of the Political Bureau of CPC Central Committee; Yang Jiechi, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee; Wang Yi, State Councillor and Foreign Minister, He Lifeng, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, said a source.
Both the leaders are expected to spend nearly six hours during the two days - right from a guided tour of the ancient city to enjoying south Indian cuisine consisting of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, said a source.
In a series of tweets in Tamil, he welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping to Tamil Nadu for the two-day informal summit at Mamallapuram.
"President Xi Jinping, Welcome to India," Modi tweeted in English. "He is delighted to be visiting Tamil Nadu. Let the relationship between India and China be further strengthened by this informal summit," Modi said in a tweet in Tamil.
Modi also tweeted in Mandarin up on landing in Chennai. "Landed in Chennai. I am very happy to be in this great land of Tamil Nadu, Tamil Nadu is known for its great culture and hospitality. It is very gratifying that Tamil Nadu will host President Xi Jinping. I hope this informal meeting will further strengthen India-China relations."
Jinping will leave to a private hotel in the city from the airport, and then to Mamallapuram where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will receive him in the evening.