Jaipur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron took part Thursday, January 25, in a roadshow in the Pink City, where the visitor was presented a replica of Ayodhya’s Ram temple and offered masala chai from a teashop before the leaders sat down for bilateral talks.
Macron, who is the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in Delhi on January 26, also visited the hilltop Amber Palace, Jantar Mantar observatory and Hawa Mahal in a carefully curated tour that ended at an iconic palace-turned-hotel.
In the evening, the two leaders were driven in an open-top vehicle through a short stretch in the heart of the city, beginning from Jantar Mantar, the 18th century astronomical observatory which is now a Unesco heritage site.
They stood in the vehicle, chatting and waving at people who lined the route. For the PM, it was his third visit to the city after December 3, when the BJP won the assembly polls.
Modi and Macron got down in front of the breezy Hawa Mahal. They admired the lit-up five-storey building with nearly 1,000 windows and jharokhas’.
The two leaders visited a handicrafts shop in the area. Modi, who led the consecration ceremony at Ayodhya’s new Ram Mandir this week, bought a small replica of the temple for the guest, according to the shopkeeper.
He paid Rs 500 for the artifact – digitally, through UPI.
And “Sahu chaiwala”, who had set up a temporary stall for the occasion, accepted Rs 2 as token payment for the masala tea offered to the leaders. Again, the payment was digital.
The two leaders boarded the open-top vehicle again to continue the roadshow up to Sanganeri Gate. From there, they were to be driven to Rambagh Palace for dinner and the bilateral talks.
Earlier, in the afternoon, the French delegation was received by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra and Chief Minister Bhajanlal Sharma at the Jaipur airport.
A couple of hours later, Modi, who was on a visit to Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr, also reached Jaipur. He met up with Macron at Jantar Mantar, where the two shook hands, hugged and then took a brief tour of the observatory.
Before this meeting, Macron had already ticked off Amber Palace on his Jaipur itinerary. His delegation had headed straight from the airport to the fort, the seat of Kachhwa Rajputs before Jaipur was founded nearby.
A red carpet was laid out and caparisoned elephants lined up at the fort for the French president.
Macron interacted there with a group of children. The delegation also browsed through artifacts on display at the temporary stalls set up near the entrance.
S Jaishankar and Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Diya Kumari were at the fort.
Cutouts and hoardings were earlier put up at several locations in Jaipur around the sites Modi and Macron were set to visit.