PM Modi, Donald Trump, Melania Trump (Photo Credit: Twitter: PMO)
US President Donald Trump was accorded a traditional welcome as checked into the ITC Maurya hotel after arriving in the national capital on Monday night in the final leg of his whirlwind visit to India. Trump, who reached Delhi after attending the Namaste Trump event at Ahmedabad and visited the Taj Mahal, is staying at the Grand Presidential Suite of the five-star property located in the Diplomatic Enclave in Chanakyapuri.
Sources said he was given a traditional welcome with flowers and 'teeka' and he entered the hotel along with his family through its back entrance in view of security threat. He had dinner around 9 pm, they said. The entire hotel has been done up in a way to reflect the 'Namaste Trump' tagline and also the branding of ITC Maurya, the logo of which is 'Namaste'. All the rooms of the hotel have been booked for the US delegates accompanying Trump for his 36-hour-long maiden visit to India.
The hotel is under a heavy security cover with personnel from Delhi Police and US Secret Service working in close coordination to ensure the security of POTUS and his family. He has joined the likes of former US presidents George W Bush, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, who have stayed at the 438-room property during their visit to India.
Walking hand-in-hand, US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump on Monday evening went around the iconic Taj Mahal, hailing the 17th century Mughal-era mausoleum as a “timeless testament” to the rich and diverse beauty of Indian culture. The American power couple spent almost an hour at the Taj Mahal, soaking in the beauty of the monument of love, and were briefed about the history and traditions associated with architectural marvel.
"The Taj Mahal inspires awe. A timeless testament to the rich and diverse beauty of Indian culture! Thank you India," Trump and Melania wrote on the visitor’s book. Trump, accompanied by his wife, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, arrived here from Ahmedabad where they attended the 'Namaste Trump' event at the Motera stadium.
The Taj Mahal, which was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal who died in 1631, was refurbished for the visit. Holding hands, the couple took a stroll in the resplendent gardens adjoining the pool at the celebrated monument, as a cool breeze made their experience even more pleasant. Trump, dressed in a dark suit with a tie of light shade, and Melania, wearing a white dress accessorised with a green waistband, also posed for photographs.
Ivanka, wearing a white dress with red floral prints with matching red shoes, and Kushner, dressed in a sharp suit, also took a stroll hand-in-hand around the monument. She also captured the moments in her mobile phone and even gave her phone to a person to get a solo picture clicked.
Trump and Melenia were also briefed about the history and importance of the monument by a guide. The US President’s visit to Agra and Taj generated huge excitement among local residents. Some shops even displayed their own banners, welcoming Trump to India.
Trump also took to Twitter to express his sentiments about his first official visit to India. “First lady and I have travelled 8,000 miles around the world to give a message to each citizen of this country America loves India, America respects India, and the people of America will always be true and committed friends of the people of India,” the American leader tweeted in Hindi.
From the Kheria airbase here, Trump’s convoy of over 30 vehicles drove to Oberoi Amarvilas hotel near the Taj Mahal complex, as over 15,000 school students who lined up on both sides of the route held US and India flags and cheered the US president as his motorcade passed by.
Massive billboards bearing greeting messages and pictures of Trump, First Lady and Modi dotted the nearly 13-km convoy route as street roundabouts decked up with US and India flags symbolised the US-India friendship.
An extensive three-layered security was in place for his Agra visit, and authorities had got the Taj Mahal premises cleared of visitors by noon, hours ahead of Trump’s visit to the celebrated architectural landmark.
Over a lakh people gathered at the newly built cricket stadium in Motera area on Monday to witness US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the gathering at the Namaste Trump event. Though Trump’s address was scheduled to start after 1.30 pm, people from across the state started arriving at the stadium, touted as the world’s biggest, since 8 am.
There was a continuous stream of people walking towards the stadium since morning as parking areas for vehicles were away from the stadium. While many of the attendees were transported to the venue in buses, some were from the city and were eager to see both the leaders.
Many in the stadium were seen wearing masks with images of Modi and Trump printed on them.
For security reasons, each invitee was given a personal invitation and police conducted their background checks. Bollywood singer Kailash Kher and local Gujarati singers entertained the audience for a couple of hours before Trump and Modi reached the stadium, which has the capacity to accommodate 1.10 lakh people, the highest for any cricket stadium in the world.
Gujarati singers like Kirtidan Gadhvi, Geeta Rabari and Kinjal Dave also entertained the audience for over two hours. The invited guests also included Non-Resident Indians and businessmen. For security reasons, no one was allowed to carry any banner or flag inside the stadium.
Though the audience was enthusiastic to see and hear both the leaders, sweltering heat forced some of them to leave even before Trump ended his speech, as the guests were sitting in the open stadium since morning. The stadium, owned by the Gujarat Cricket Association, has been rebuilt after demolishing the old one, which was built in 1982 and had a seating capacity of 49,000.
The entire stadium complex is spread across over 64 acres and has a club house and an Olympic-size swimming pool. The construction of the new stadium got completed in two years with an estimated cost of Rs 700 crore.
(With PTI Inputs)