Modi in Xi’an: Visits museum, Buddhist temple

Xi’an (China): Prime minister Narendra Modi today began his official visit to China from the historic city of Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi province, going round the Terracotta Warriors Museum and the ancient Da Xingshan Buddhist temple where he offered prayers.

Modi, who landed here early on Thursday on the first leg of his three-day China visit, went to the Terracotta Warriors Museum that houses neat rows of terracotta sculptures, depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China.

The museum has a collection of over 8,000 life-size clay warriors.

Attired in a white kurta-churidar with a brown shawl draped around his shoulder, Modi went around the museum and listened attentively to the guide.

He spent an hour at the museum. The museum complex, a UN World Heritage site, also houses Qin’s mausoleum and was built in the 2nd century BC.

He wrote in the visitors’ book: “The terracotta army is a heritage of the world. It is a testimony to China’s civilizational achievements. I am deeply impressed by the extraordinary care with which this precious heritage has been preserved.”

At the Da Xingshan temple, Modi stood with his hands folded in front of massive golden statue of the Buddha, as orange robed monks chanted prayers.

“Sutra recitation at Grand Hall of Daxingshan Temple in presence of PM,” tweeted external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

The temple is located on Xingshansi West Street in the business quarter Xiaozhai of southern Xi’an.

The temple was originally built in the Jin Dynasty and was extended in the Sui dynasty.

After its reconstruction in 582 AD, it was called the Da Xing Shan temple.

Modi later tweeted: “Hello from Xi’an, China. Landed to a warm welcome, followed by a spectacular visit to the Terracotta Warriors Museum.”

“The Daxingshan Temple is beautiful. Visited various Halls of the Temple & interacted with monks.”

“Will always cherish this token of appreciation,” he tweeted, showing a photograph of a small Buddha statue that he was presented as a token.

Modi, who waved enthusiastically to crowds clicking his photographs at the temple complex, wrote: “Im very glad to see the enthusiasm among the people of China. People-to-people ties are always special.”

Xi’an is the capital of Shaanxi province and the hometown of President Xi Jinping.

Modi and Xi are sceduled to hold their summit meeting later.

Xi’an is also associated with Chinese traveller and famous Buddhist scholar Xuan Zang or Hieun Tsang who travelled extensively in India between 629 to 645 AD.

Modi was earlier accorded a grand welcome at the airport on arrival.