Cultural bonding on display as Modi, Shinzo attend 'Ganga Arti'

Cultural bonding on display as Modi, Shinzo attend 'Ganga Arti'

The strong  cultural bonds between India and Japan were visible on the ‘ghats’ of the Ganga here on Saturday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe performed puja besides attending the ‘Ganga Aarti’.

Modi and Abe, who were accorded a traditional welcome upon their arrival at the Babatpur Airport here from New Delhi, performed the ‘Aarti’ following rituals amid the chanting of vedic mantras by Sanskrit scholars.

The two leaders were greeted with blowing of conch shells and chants of “Har Har Mahadev” (a slogan hailing Lord Shiva).  Dressed in Indian attire, Abe along with Modi offered milk and flowers and performed the ‘Ganga Aarti’. The priests applied ‘tilak’ (a mark on the forehead by a coloured powder) and tied ‘kalawa’ (a red thread) on their right hand wrists.

The two leaders witnessed the ‘Aarti’ from a specially decorated floating platform. The ‘Aarti’ was performed by a group of nine priests, 18 girls and two ‘damru’ (a traditional musical instrument) players.

Both the prime ministers looked completely absorbed by the performance. Modi was also seen reciting lines of ‘bhajans’ and hymns and explaining the different rituals that were being held during the ‘Aarti’.

The Japanese PM was seen taking snaps of the programme and selfies. The two leaders, who spent around an hour at the beautifully decorated Dashashwamedh Ghat, which is very close to the famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

Earlier, Modi and Abe were greeted with recital of ‘shehnai’ and a ‘kathak’ performance. Buddhist monks were also present at the airport to greet Abe.

The entire stretch from the airport to the Dashashwamedh Ghat was decorated with welcome arches, banners and hoardings. The hoardings welcoming Abe were had the Japanese language. written on them.

Residents of the temple town had also lighted their houses to welcome the two leaders. Unprecedented security arrangements were also in place. The entire route was sealed completely and barricades had been erected around the venue.
The district administration had repaired the potholed roads, evicted the street vendors and also driven away the beggars, who are a common sight in Varanasi.

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