Amritsar (PTI): Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family on Wednesday offered prayers at the Golden Temple here. Trudeau described the visit to the holiest of Sikh shrines as an “honour” and stressed that they were “filled with grace and humility”.
Clad in an off-white ‘kurta-pyjama’ and with a saffron-coloured cloth covering his head, the Canadian premier, along with his wife and two of his three children, bowed with folded hands before the holy book at the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine.
“What an honour to be so well received at such a beautiful, meaningful place. We are filled with grace and humility,” he wrote in the visitors’ book before leaving the shrine.
The prime minister, his family and a delegation of Canadian ministers including Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan reached ‘Harmandir Sahib’, popularly known as the Golden Temple, at 11:55 a.m.
Union minister of state (Independent Charge) for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri and Punjab Cultural Affairs and Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu also accompanied the prime minister to the Golden Temple.
A red-coloured carpet was laid out by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee at the temple complex in honour of the visitors.
Shiromani Akali Dal Chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee President Gobind Singh Longowal welcomed them at the Gurdwara.
During their almost hour-long visit to the shrine, Trudeau and his family greeted devotees with folded hands while scores of visitors could be seen holding up their cell phones to take pictures and videos of the dignitaries.
After reaching the Golden Temple, they went to the Guru Ram Das Jee Langar hall where Trudeau and his family tried rolling out some ‘parshada’ (chapattis). Devotees do voluntary kitchen work in the hall.
Celebrity chef and restaurateur Vikas Khanna was seen giving tips to the family on ways to make the ‘parshada with the help of a chakla belan (board and rolling pin).
The family appeared amused while shaping out the chapattis, with Sajjan also trying his hand at it.
They took a ‘parikarma’ – a walk around the marbled periphery – while ‘Gurbani’, religious hymns, played in the background. The prime minister, his wife and the two children were presented with a ‘siropa’ (robe of honour) inside the shrine.
The visiting dignitaries were surrounded by Canadian security officials and Punjab police personnel in mufti. The SGPC task force of ‘sewadars’ or volunteers formed a security ring around the dignitaries.
The prime minister was presented with a specially-crafted 24-carat gold-plated portrait of the shrine and a gold-plated ‘Siri Sahib’ (a six-inch sword), the robe of honour and a shawl.
Gregoire Trudeau was presented with a woollen shawl and a set of religious books.
Later, Trudeau visited the Partition Museum, which showcases documents and other material related to the partition of India .
Earlier, Puri and Sidhu received Trudeau and a delegation of Canadian ministers and MPs at the Sri Guru Ramdas International Airport. They were accompanied at the airport by Amritsar Commissioner of Police S S Srivastva and Deputy Commissioner Kamaldeep Singh Sangha, officials said.
Tight security arrangements were put in place by the Punjab police in Amritsar with over 1,500 police personnel deployed in the holy city for the visit. Senior police officials including SSPs and DIGs, besides a SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team, had also been deployed in the city.