UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak along with his wife Akshata Murty visited the Akshardham Temple in Delhi on Sunday, during his official visit for the G20 Summit. They arrived at the temple early in the morning to offer their prayers before heading to Rajghat.
The Akshardham Temple shared a post on X, welcoming Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and First Lady Akshata Murthy to celebrate the shared cultural heritage between India and the UK.
Honoured to welcome 🇬🇧 Prime Minister @RishiSunak and #AkshataMurthy to celebrate the shared cultural heritage between India and the UK @BAPS #SwaminarayanAkshardham during the #G20 #LivingBridge pic.twitter.com/6IXtanxn15
— Swaminarayan Akshardham (@DelhiAkshardham) September 10, 2023
Stringent security measures were implemented in and around the temple to ensure a safe visit.
PM Sunak and his entourage arrived at 6:45 in the morning and received a warm traditional Hindu welcome, symbolizing goodwill and friendship, as stated in a release by the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple. Swamis and senior leaders from the Temple greeted Sunak and conveyed a special message on behalf of Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS.
The spiritual leader extended his personal wishes and prayers for Sunak and the other delegates, the temple authorities said.
“In the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, we pray for you and all the attendees: May the summit be a resounding success in collectively helping the whole world towards peace, righteous prosperity, and global harmony,” the message from Mahant Swami Maharaj, spiritual leader of BAPS read.
The UK Prime Minister was provided with an overview of the 100-acre spiritual and cultural complex that showcases India’s traditions and ancient architecture while promoting timeless Hindu spiritual values of faith, devotion, and harmony.
Sunak and his wife paid their respects to the sacred images and admired the temple’s art and architecture. They also performed abhishek, a ritual pouring of water, on the murti of Shri Nilkanth Varni Maharaj, offering prayers for world peace, progress, and harmony, according to the BAPS statement.
Akshardham Temple Director Jyotindra Dave shared that Sunak had an “extraordinary experience” at the temple.
“He enjoyed every minute here. He went on extending the time and the people were really worried that he had so many programs but nobody can say that we have to go out. It is he who decides and his wife also was very happy. He performed the Pooja and Aarti with a lot of faith…We showed him the temple and also gave him a model of the temple as a gift.”, the director said.
The temple authorities presented Sunak with a model of the temple as a gift.
On the preceding Friday, during an interaction with the media, Rishi Sunak expressed his hope to find time to visit a temple during his stay in India for the G20 Summit. He proudly stated, “I am a proud Hindu. That’s how I was raised, that’s how I am.” He mentioned missing the opportunity to celebrate Janmashtami but hoped to make up for it during his visit to a temple.
Rishi Sunak, accompanied by his wife Akshata Murty, arrived in New Delhi on Friday to participate in the G20 Summit hosted by India during its Presidency.