Prime Minister Narendra Modi took part in a traditional lamp lighting ceremony at a Buddhist temple here in Sri Lanka as part of the International Vesak Day celebrations….reports Asian Lite News
“In holy sanctum. PM @narendramodi visits Gangaramaya temple @ d famous Beira Lake, lights lamps @ temple on Vesak Day eve,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay tweeted.
As Modi put a switch on, the entire complex of the Gangaramaya temple, one of the most important Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka, was lit up by colourful lights, which was followed by fireworks in the sky.
According to Indian state broadcaster Doordarshan, Modi, who was accompanied by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, also offered prayers at the temple.
The Gangaramaya temple was established in the late 19th century by one of the most famous scholar monks, Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumanagala Nayaka Thera.
Its complex comprises the temple, the ‘seema malaka’ or assembly hall for monks in the picturesque Beira Lake and a vocational training institute.
Modi, who arrived here earlier in the day on a two-day visit to Sri Lanka, will be the chief guest at the UN-recognised 14th International Vesak Day meant to mark the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Lord Buddha.
The visit follows an invitation from Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena. It is Modi’s second trip to Sri Lanka as Prime Minister after March 2015.
This is the first time that Sri Lanka will be hosting the International Vesak Day. The theme of the event is Buddhist teachings for social justice and sustainable world peace.
The Indian Prime Minister will also pray at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic at Kandy in central Sri Lanka. The golden-roofed Kandy temple houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic — a tooth of Lord Buddha.
In Pallekelle, Modi will unveil a plaque commemorating the foundation laying of the Faculty of Kandyan Dance at the Sri Lankan International Buddhist Academy that will be constructed with India’s grant assistance.
Modi will also open an India-funded 150-bed multi-speciality hospital at Dickoya in the central hill district which is home to Tamil tea plantation workers of Indian origin.
Although no bilateral talks are scheduled, the visit is expected to give renewed momentum in India-Sri Lanka ties.
Last month, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe visited India.