United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday paid obeisance at the Golden Temple, the first UN head to the shrine, in Punjab’s Amritsar.
Upon his arrival at the temple, Guterres was felicitated with ‘sipora’ (rope of honour) by the Sikh priest. He was also honoured with a woollen shawl, a replica of Golden Temple and a set of Sikh religious books by SGPC president Longowal.
"I paid tribute to the Sikh community worldwide and I express my deep respect for this holy place where all religions are accepted in a wonderful," he wrote in the visitor book of Golden Temple.
Guterres also visited the community kitchen at the Golden Temple, where he keenly watched the cooking process and participated in 'langar'.
The Golden Temple is a place of peace, tolerance and harmony; it is sacred to the Sikh people, and it is open to all people from all religions, the UN chief tweeted.
The Golden Temple is a place of peace, tolerance and harmony; it is sacred to the Sikh people, and it is open to all people from all religions. It was my great honour to share in the warm and generous spirit of this holy place. https://t.co/RrNp8DKAth pic.twitter.com/wypdjuyX1j— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) October 3, 2018
During his visit to the Golden Temple, Guterres was accompanied by Punjab Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
In a statement released, Guterres laments that there are not many temples in the world where there is a spirit of peace, tolerance and ecumenism.
“I prayed here as a Catholic but, all people, from all religions in the world, can pray in this holy place,” said in a statement.
“It increases my admiration for the Sikh communities everywhere: the Sikh community in India, the Sikh community in my part of the world, in Europe, in North America, everywhere where Sikhs are contributing to the development of our world,” the statement read.
Guterres is on a three-day visit to India and attended the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention on Tuesday. The UN chief also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed a wide range issues pertaining to climate change and global terrorism.
We are extremely grateful to him for coming to India for the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention. pic.twitter.com/gPKmsoFKxG— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 2, 2018
The UN head was arrived in Delhi on Monday on his maiden visit to India as the head of the United Nations, that coincides with the commencement of events marking the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.