ULAN BATOR — Narendra Modi, the first Indian prime minister to visit Mongolia, told his Mongolian counterpart Chimed Saikhanbileg on Sunday that India is privileged to be considered as Mongolia's spiritual neighbour.
"India is privileged to be considered as Mongolia's spiritual neighbour." PM @narendramodi to PM
Saikhanbileg at Delegation level talks— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) May 17, 2015
Modi, the first Indian prime minister to visit Mongolia, was earlier accorded a ceremonial welcome at the State Palace and later sat down for delegation talks with Saikhanbileg.
Modi, accompanied by the Mongolian leader, took the salute by the red and blue liveried armed forces.
The State Palace or Government House, built in the 1950s, is where the Mongolian president, parliament speaker and prime minister work from. It also houses the parliament hall.The State Palace also houses a statue of Genghis Khan.
Earlier, Modi visited the ancient Gandan Monastery in the Mongolian capital and also presented a sapling of the revered Bodhi tree to the chief abbot of the Buddhist temple.
The Mongolian sojourn begins with the Boddhisatva of compassion. PM at the Gandan Monastery with the Hamba Lama pic.twitter.com/ixk1BbQxck— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) May 16, 2015
Modi also lit incense at the monastery, also known as the Gandantegchinlen Monastery. He was accorded a ceremonial welcome by the chief abbot, Hamba Lama, who gifted him a blue silken scarf and a token.
And outside, gifting a Bodhi tree sapling to the Hamba Lama pic.twitter.com/CGAe1xVQSx— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) May 17, 2015
Modi met 150 monks at the monastery and also saw the Buddhist relics at the museum.He took a round of the monastery. He also went to the Janraisag Monastery, inside the Gandan monastery complex. The Janraisag monastery houses a 26-metre tall statue of Janraisag Buddha.
The Gandantegchinlen Monastery was established in 1835 by the Fifth Jebtsundamba, the highest reincarnated lama of Mongolia. The monastery has three colleges of Buddhist philosophy: a medical and astrological college, a Kalachakra temple, a Jud Tantric College and an the Migjid Janraisig temple which houses the Avalokiteshvara statue.
Most Buddhist monasteries in Mongolia were destroyed during the communist regime, which lasted until 1990. The only one to survive was the Gandan Monastery.