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‘Proud Hindu’ Rishi Sunak, wife Akshata Murty offer prayers at Delhi’s Akshardham Temple

New Delhi: United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty on Sunday offered prayers at Akshardham Temple in Delhi. 
Sunak, who is on an official visit to the city for the G20 Summit arrived with wife Akshata at the Akshardham Temple early this morning to offer prayers before heading to Rajghat. Akshata was seen in a traditional salwar kurta and both she and Sunak were photographed barefoot inside the temple premises. 
Earlier on Friday, Sunak had in an interaction with ANI called himself “a proud Hindu” and said he wished to visit the Mandir during his stay in the capital.
Elaborate security arrangements were put in place in and around the temple.
In a post shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, Akshardham Temple stated, "Honoured to welcome Prime Minister @RishiSunak and #AkshataMurthy to celebrate the shared cultural heritage between India and the UK."
PM Sunak and his convoy arrived at 6.45 in the morning and were warmly welcomed in a traditional Hindu manner symbolising goodwill and friendship, the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple said in a statement.
Sunak was then greeted by swamis, as well as senior leaders from the Temple who relayed a special message on behalf of Mahant Swami Maharaj, spiritual leader of BAPS.
The spiritual leader extended his personal wishes and prayers for Sunak and the other delegates, the temple authorities said.
“In the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, we pray for you and all the attendees: May the summit be a resounding success in collectively helping the whole world towards peace, righteous prosperity, and global harmony,” the message from Mahant Swami Maharaj, spiritual leader of BAPS read.
The UK Prime Minister was given an overview of the 100-acre spiritual and cultural complex that portrays the traditions and ancient architecture of India and promotes the timeless Hindu spiritual messages of faith, devotion and harmony, the statement read.
Sunak and his wife paid their respects to the sacred images in the and admired the art and architecture. The couple also performed abhishek (ritual pouring of water) on the murti of Shri Nilkanth Varni Maharaj, and offered prayers for world peace, progress and harmony, the BAPS said.
Speaking to ANI, the Akshardham Temple Director Jyotindra Dave said Sunak had an “extraordinary experience” at the temple.
“He enjoyed every minute here. He went on extending the time and the people were really worried that he had so many programs but nobody can say that we have to go out. It is he who decides and his wife also was very happy. He performed the Pooja and Aarti with a lot of faith...We showed him the temple and also gave him a model of the temple as a gift."
While speaking to ANI on Friday, Rishi Sunak had expressed his hope that he will find time to visit a temple, here in India, during his stay for the G20 Summit.
“I am a proud Hindu. That’s how I was raised, that’s how I am. Hopefully, I can visit the Mandir while I am here for the next couple of days. We just had Rakshabandhan, so from my sister and my cousin, I have all my Rakhis,” Rishi Sunak said.
“I didn’t have time to celebrate Janmashtami. But hopefully, as I said I can make up for that if we visit a Mandir this time,” he added.
He further said that faith is something very important as it gives strength and resilience during stress.
“It is something that is important to me. I think faith is something that helps everybody who has faith in their lives, particularly when you have these stressful jobs like I do. Having faith gives you resilience, gives you strength that is important and it provides an outlook on life which I find particularly valuable,” Sunak added.
Rishi Sunak along with his wife Akshata Murty arrived in New Delhi on Friday to attend the G20 Summit hosted by India under its Presidency.

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