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Modi welcomes Jinping in true Tamil style; offers a peek into Hindu mythological history 

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi began today with a guided tour of a temple complex dating back to the 8th century in Tamil Nadu’s Mamallapuram. Both leaders shook hands and exchanged pleasantries before they toured the historical site. Modi and the Chinese President visited Arjuna’s Penance, Panch Ratha, and the Shore Temple.

Attired in a dhoti and angavastaram, Modi welcomed Jinping and led him along the rock-cut Krishna Mantap, which has sculptures of Lord Krishna holding aloft the Govardhan hillock to save the residents of Brindavan from rain. Both leaders spent substantial time and Jinping looked rather captured with the architectural marvel.

Modi explained the legend behind Arjuna’s penance, and the then moved to Krishna’s ‘butter ball’, a massive granite boulder perched delicately on a rocky slope. Hindu mythology suggests the boulder is a drop of butter from Lord Krishna. Modi, who had taken up the role of a guide for the day, explained the Pallava-era sculptures and temples with distinctive Dravidian style tower.

Their final stop for the day was the Pancha Rathas, five rock-cut temples where Modi and Jinping later relished a tender coconut with a straw. 

After landing in Chennai , President Xi headed to Mamallapuram, 50 km away, amid tight security by road. Jinping is accompanied by a 100-member strong delegation, including Foreign Minister Wang Yi and State Councillor Yang Jiechi. Modi is accompanied by National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

Modi reportedly gifted Nachiarkoil, a six-feet Annam lamp richly coated with gold and a three-feet high Thanjavur painting of dancing Saraswati. No Memoranda of Understanding or agreements will be signed as it will be an informal summit seeking to forge a cooperative partnership between the two countries.

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