Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday hosted a typical south Indian dinner for visiting Chinese President Xi Jinpiang at the historic Mamallapuram town, 50 km south of Chennai.
Modi treated Xi to a 18-course dinner that included Chettinadu cuisines plus sambar, rice, tomato rasam and other traditional Tamil Nadu dishes.
Modi set the tone for the informal summit by sporting traditional Tamil Nadu dress of dhoti and bush shirt with angavasthram. In a spontenous gesture, Xi also discarded coat and looked casual in white shirt and blue striped trousers.
After a tour of Mamallapuram monuments , Modi and Xi were treated to a cultural programme at the famous shore temple which was lit up for the occasion . Cultural troupes from Kalakshetra staged bharatha natyam and kathakali dances. They also played a Hymn Amaidhi nilavattum( Let peace prevail) set to be a favourite of Mahatma Gandhi.
The local motif was predominant throughout their tour of Mamamallapuram with the two leaders even taking tender coconut water for refreshment before settling down for talks.
They were received by Foreign Minister S Jaishankar at the venue.
The two leaders who settled down for talks only after six in the evening, after an hour long tour of the temple town in which Modi played guide.
As a result of the long discussions, Xi delayed his scheduled departure from Mamallapuram to his ITC Grand Hotel in Guindy Chennai.
The two leaders are expected to meet at Chennai on Saturday morning at the ITC Grand Hotel for the informal summit. Modi, who is staying at Fishermen’s Cove near Mamallapuram is expected join Xi at Grand Hotel in Chennai in the morning. Their meeting is expected to last till lunch.
After lunch, President Xi is scheduled to leave Chennai for Kathmandu.