Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise visit to the langar hall of the Golden Temple on Saturday, along with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
He later served food at the langar to the great delight of the devotees there.
This is Modi’s first visit to the Golden Temple as a Prime Minister. Political pundits are seeing it as an attempt to win over the Sikh community in Punjab, which will go to polls early next year.
Served ‘Langar’ at the Golden Temple. pic.twitter.com/kCdomntSA4— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 3, 2016
Most devotees were surprised to find the Prime Minister, and many asked him for selfies and photographs, which he readily obliged.
Both the leaders are visiting the holy town to attend the 6th Heart Of Asia Conference.
PM Modi, Afghanistan Pres. Ashraf Ghani, Punjab CM, Deputy CM and Union Min Harsimrat Kaur Badal offer prayers at Golden Temple in Amritsar pic.twitter.com/6TOVPwPIv2— ANI (@ANI_news) December 3, 2016
Gurpreet Singh, a devotee, told The Times of India, “We are just lucky to have him here. We wish we were told by the police here earlier. We could have brought our family members.
Both Modi and Ghani knelt and bowed five times before the Sikh Holy book, and were honoured with 24 carat gold replicas of the temple and a siropa (robe of honour) each.
There were also those who ran to him to offer prashad.
PM Modi, wearing a woollen cap, took a round of the ‘sarovar’ (pond) surrounding the shrine. He walked the nearly kilometre-and-half long circle in about 10 minutes, and spent in total 30 minutes at the temple.
More pics of PM’s visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar. pic.twitter.com/o0zqIu2syD— Narendra Modi (@narendramcdi) December 3, 2016
He also wrote remarks in the visitor’s book maintained by the Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC).
His remarks were in Gujarati, which read, “Guru bhoomi ko shat shat pranam”.
Punjab: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani note in the visitors’ book at the Golden Temple in Amritsar pic.twitter.com/IxRu6fwaVZ— ANI (@ANI_news) December 3, 2016
Since the police or weapons are not allowed inside the premises of the holy shrine, the task force of the SGPC formed a human chain to escort the prime ministers.
The langar served at the Golden Temple is the largest in the world where 50,000 – 80,000 people are served every day.