PM Modi arrives in Sri Lanka, prays at country’s oldest  Buddhist temple
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PM Modi arrives in Sri Lanka, prays at country’s oldest Buddhist temple

In his second visit to Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Colombo on Thursday.

india Updated: May 11, 2017 20:10 IST
PM Modi,Sri Lanka,Buddhist temple
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is greeted by children as he arrives at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe looks on. (PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Colombo on Thursday on a two-day visit to Sri Lanka where he will be the chief guest at the International Vesak Day celebrations.

The Prime Minister was received at the airport by his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Modi 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.

His second trip to the South Asian country, the visit follows an invitation from Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena. Modi first visited Sri Lanka in march 2015.

“A legacy of cultural, religious & linguistic synergy. PM @narendramodi arrives in Colombo to attend #InternationalVesakDay,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay tweeted.

This year’s theme of the International Vesak Day is Buddhist teachings for social justice and sustainable world peace, and is being hosted by Sri Lanka a first time.

As part of the celebrations, Modi participated in a lamp lighting ceremony at the Gangaramaya temple, one of the most important and oldest Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka.

PM Narendra Modi with his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe as they step out of a temple in Colombo on May 11, 2017. (AFP)

Modi 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.

First Published: May 11, 2017 20:10 IST