CHENNAI: Chennai wore a festive look on Friday, with people from different walks of life coming together to accord a grand welcome for visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. School students, artistes, politicians and Chinese expatriates lined up along the roads taken by the leaders to reach Mamallapuram for their informal summit, cheering and waving national flags of India and China.
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam were present to welcome both Modi and Xi, who arrived separately.
Xi, who arrived around 1.30 pm, retired to ITC Grand Chola Sheraton, before proceeding towards Mamallapuram. Modi arrived 15 minutes earlier and flew to Taj Fisherman’s Cove. He was accompanied by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and NSA Ajit Kumar Doval.
At the Mahabs, convoys of Modi and Xi arrived at a gap of 20 minutes, with the prime minister dressed in crisp white veshti, shirt and thundu (shoulder cloth). Greeting Xi at the Arjuna’s Penance monument, Modi took him on a guided tour, along with translators, briefing him about the architectural marvel. The two leaders also visited ‘Krishna’s Butter Ball’, a gigantic granite boulder resting on a short incline. The boulder is approximately six metres high and five metres wide and weighs around 250 tons.