Prime Minister Narendra Modi wore a white half-sleeved shirt, a veshti and an angavastram as he welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping in traditional clothes at Tamil Nadu's Mamallapuram, earlier known as Mahabalipuram, on Friday afternoon.
PM Modi took President Xi, who was dressed in a white shirt and dark trousers, on a tour of ancient rock monuments, Arjuna's Penance, Panch Rathas and the Shore Temple.
The Prime Minister was seen in visuals explaining to the Chinese president the significance of the carvings at Arjuna's Penance, a seventh century monument at a height of 73 feet. It is a monolith carved on the face of two huge boulders.
According to one interpretation, Arjuna's Penance depicts a story from the Mahabharata of how Arjuna, one of the Pandava brothers, performed severe austerities in order to obtain Shiva's weapon.
After touring the Panch Rathas, the two leaders took a break, sipping coconut water with a view of the splendid Shore Temple. They were seen in conversation, sitting on chairs arranged by lush green lawns.
The Shore Temple complex, lit up after sundown, formed a magnificent backdrop to a cultural show the two leaders watched together, along with their officials. PM Modi was seen tapping his fingers to the beats during the performance, which included a Ramayana skit.
On Saturday morning, the two leaders will hold an informal meet at the Taj Fisherman's Cove Resort and Spa, followed by delegation-level talks.
Tonight PM Modi will host President Xi for dinner, which will feature Tamil cuisine.
The two-day event is a symbolic walk into an ancient era of trade ties between the heritage coastal town and China around 1,600 years ago.
Mamallapuram is replete with signs of ancient trade links between Pallava Kings and China. The heritage town was a vibrant port city then and had served as a gateway for imports and exports to China and South Asia. It was part of China's silk route too.
The first informal summit between PM Modi and Xi Jinping took place in Wuhan, a picturesque Chinese lake city, last year. President Xi had given PM Modi a personal tour of the Hubei provincial Museum.
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