Colombo, May 11: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, arrived in Colombo this evening. He was received at the airport by the Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Ranil Wickramsinghe, and other senior Ministers.
Both Prime Ministers later arrived at the Seema Malaka Temple, where they were received by the Chief Monk of the Temple, among other dignitaries.
The Prime Minister offered flowers at the altar of the Temple. Both the Prime Ministers pressed a switch for the lamp-lighting ceremony on the eve of Vesak Day, characterised by brilliant multi coloured lights and a fireworks display.
Vesak marks the birth, enlightenment and the passing of the Buddha. It was officially recognised by the United Nations in 1999. Sri Lanka had played an essential role in the recognition of this day, and India too had supported its neighbouring country in the initiative.
This will be Modi’s second bilateral visit to Sri Lanka in two years. He last visited the island nation in March 2015.
“This will be my second bilateral visit there in two years, a sign of our strong relationship,” he said in a Facebook post prior to his departure.
“During my visit, I will join the International Vesak Day celebrations in Colombo on 12th May, where I will interact with leading Buddhist spiritual leaders, scholars and theologians,” PM Modi had written.
The Prime Minister recalled that during his last visit in 2015, he had the opportunity to visit Anuradhapura, a UNESCO world heritage site and a leading centre of Buddhism for centuries.