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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

Envoys of 84 nations make history, together pay obeisance at Golden Temple

Pakistan, China and UK were among the countries that skipped the visit

india Updated: Oct 23, 2019 01:05 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Amritsar

A total of 84 resident heads of foreign missions in India, together, visited the holy city to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple on Tuesday, in the wake of Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary.

The visit was organised by Indian council for cultural relations (ICCR) in collaboration with the Punjab government and Shiromani gurdwara parbandhak committee. Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri and president ICCR, Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe accompanied the envoys during the special visit.

At the international airport here, the envoys were warmly welcomed by Punjab cabinet minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Amritsar MP Gurjit Singh Aujla, deputy commissioner Shivdular Singh Dhillon and commissioner of police Sukhchain Singh Gill.

They were welcomed again with performances of gidha-bhangra and gatka (Sikh martial art) by students upon their arrival at Heritage Street that leads to the Golden Temple.

Before entering the shrine, they visited the four galleries of the interpretation centre at the plaza and entrance of the shrine, where they were familiarized with Sikh history, Sikh principles and the Golden Temple. Thereafter, they took their meal at the langar hall, which is considered as the world’s largest community kitchen. Partaking langar was a first experience for most of the envoys.

After paying obeisance at sanctum sanctorum, they were felicitated by SGPC with a ‘siropa’ (robe of hnour), a replica of the Golden Temple and Sikh literature.

“The purpose of bringing the envoys to the shrine was to disseminate the Guru’s message of brotherhood and world peace,” said Puri, in an address, after which SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal alos spoke to the envoys. An event was also hosted by the government at the hotel, in which the deputy commissioner Amritsar familiarised the envoys with Amritsar, Punjab and Punjab Invest initiative.

The 550th parkash purb which falls on November 12 this year is being celebrated across the world.

Pakistan, China absent

Notably, the envoys of some nations did not accompany their counterparts. Pakistan, China and United Kingdom (UK) skipped the visit. The absence of Pakistan was a hot topic on the occasion as its standoff with India continues, more so after the abrogation of Article 370 in J&K, with China being its main ally.

Puri said, “All countries were invited and maybe their absence was due to a busy schedule.”