British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, on Sunday made a visit to the Akshardham temple in India, describing it as not only a place of worship but also a symbol of India’s values.
During their 45-minute visit to the temple, they offered prayers and learned about its architecture and history, as reported by the temple management. The couple arrived at the temple dedicated to Swaminarayan, believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, at around 6:45 am. They walked barefoot from the reception area to the main temple complex, covering a distance of approximately 150 meters.
Prime Minister Sunak, wearing a crisp white shirt and navy blue trousers, and his wife, dressed in a beige kurta with a bright pink dupatta and loose pants, received a traditional welcome at the temple.
While exploring the temple, Prime Minister Sunak shared his thoughts with his hosts. He was quoted by temple authorities as saying, “My wife and I were delighted to visit Swaminarayan Akshardham for darshan and puja this morning. We were amazed and awed by the beauty of this temple and its universal message of peace, harmony, and becoming a better human being. This is not only a place of worship but a landmark that also portrays India’s values, culture, and contributions to the world.”
He also noted that these values and culture are evident in the positive contributions made by the British-Indian community to the UK.
A temple management official expressed great honor at hosting the visit of Prime Minister Sunak and his wife, despite the rainy weather. The couple walked barefoot in the temple premises, offering flower petals to various idols, including Swaminarayan ji, Sita-Ram, Radha-Krishna, Laxmi Narayana, and Shiva-Parvati. They also inquired about the temple’s architecture and history and viewed sanctified items belonging to Swaminarayan ji, such as shoes and a garland.
After their visit, Sunak and his wife received gifts from the temple, including a marble elephant, a marble peacock, and a special replica of Akshardham. They were accompanied by a trustee of the BAPS Swaminarayan Trust, UK, and a volunteer from the Neasden temple in London during their visit.
Following the temple visit, Prime Minister Sunak joined other G20 leaders in paying tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at his memorial, Rajghat. Sunak and world leaders had gathered in Delhi to attend the two-day G20 Summit, which commenced on Saturday.
British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, expressed gratitude to Sunak and Murty for their visit in a post on social media.
(With PTI inputs)