Varanasi, Dec. 12 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted a banquet for his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe after the two leaders performed ‘Ganga Aarti’ on the banks of river Ganges here on Saturday.
A grand cultural event, including performances by Grammy nominee Ricky Kej and speed painter Vilas Naik, was also held which enthralled the Japanese delegation.
A unique fusion performance of Japanese drums- taiko and Sitar was part of the extravagant evening.
A captivating dance performance ‘An ode to the ‘Sari’ through music’ which was choreographed by Daksha Seth was also part of the programme.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that the guests were treated to a pure vegetarian feast.
“Guests enjoy a unique cultural performance while feasting on pure vegetarian Banarasi thali,” Swarup tweeted.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Governor Ram Naik were also present at the banquet.
Earlier Prime Minister Modi and Shinzo Abe performed the ‘Ganga Aarti’ at the Dashashwamedh Ghat, which is one of the holiest places in Varanasi.
Abe, who was dressed in a traditional Nehru jacket, took part in the holy rituals along with Prime Minister Modi amid chants of holy mantras, flanked by priests.
India and Japan had signed a pact to develop Varanasi as a ‘Smart City’ when Prime Minister Modi had visited Japan last year. The plan is to develop Varanasi on the lines of Japanese city of Kyoto. (ANI)