Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday visited one of Sri Lanka’s oldest Buddhist Seema Malaka temple here and took part in the traditional lamp-lighting ceremony. Modi, accompanied by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, prayed and offered flowers at the altar of the temple, which is a part of the more-than-120-year-old Gangaramaya Temple.
The temple’s chief monk received the two leaders. Modi entered the holy sanctum of the temple and lit lamps – a traditional practice – on the eve of the International Vesak Day celebrations, the biggest festival of Buddhists.
— ANI (@ANI_news) May 11, 2017
Modi and Wickramsinghe together pressed a switch to begin the lamp-lighting ceremony, which was characterised by brilliant multi-coloured lights and fireworks display. The Gangaramaya Temple is situated in the bustling inner-city Colombo, nearby the scenic Beira Lake. The temple complex is a popular tourist attraction, a place of worship and a learning and vocational training centre.
The temple’s architecture demonstrates an eclectic mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, and Chinese architecture and the temple is involved in welfare work. The temple is uniquely attractive and tolerant to congregation members of many different religions.
Earlier today, Modi was received at the Colombo International Airport by Wickremesinghe and several senior ministers, including Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera. On reaching Colombo, Modi tweeted, “I am happy to be in Sri Lanka, where I will join the International Vesak Day Celebrations.”
On his second visit to Sri Lanka in two years, Modi is here primarily to participate in the Vesak Day celebrations tomorrow. Before leaving for Colombo, he wrote in a Facebook post that it was an honour for him to join these celebrations with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe.