French Prez Macron visits Nizamuddin Dargah before heading to Paris

| Updated: 27 January, 2024 12:51 pm IST

NEW DELHI: In a cultural interlude before departing for Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron, along with India’s External Affairs Minister Jaishankar, paid a visit to the historic Dargah Nizamuddin Aulia in New Delhi on January 26. The 700-year-old shrine, known as the nerve centre of Sufi culture in India, welcomed Macron, who arrived at approximately 9:45 pm and spent half an hour soaking in the soul-stirring melodies of Qawwali music.

The visit to the sacred site served as a fitting prelude to India’s grand 75th Republic Day celebrations, which showcased the nation’s military prowess and rich cultural heritage during an impressive 90-minute parade at the Kartavya Path. Macron, invited as the chief guest by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, witnessed French contingents marching alongside Indian forces in a display of camaraderie and cooperation.

Post-parade, President Macron participated in a banquet dinner hosted in his honour at the Rashtrapati Bhawan by President Droupadi Murmu. Expressing gratitude for the warm welcome, Macron reiterated the enduring friendship between India and France, proclaiming, “Long live the friendship between France and India.”

Before the Republic Day festivities, Macron embarked on a sightseeing tour in Jaipur, exploring a 17th-century fort and an 18th-century observatory. The visit continued with a vibrant road show or “shobha yatra,” where Macron and Prime Minister Modi, standing in an open jeep, covered a distance of approximately 1.5 kilometres.

The enthusiastic crowd lining the streets showered them with rose and marigold petals. Macron also experienced India’s digital payment method firsthand during a unique “Chai pe Charcha” and “UPI pe Kharcha” session with Prime Minister Modi.

The visit concluded on a spiritual note with Macron’s visit to the Nizamuddin Dargah, marking his final engagement in India. He expressed his gratitude to the country in a farewell message, stating, “Thank you, India, for your warm welcome in Jaipur and Delhi.”

Macron extended an invitation to India for upcoming significant events in Paris, including the commemoration of the Second World War, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the Francophonie Summit. He warmly welcomed friends, saying, “France will welcome the whole world this year with the Paris Olympics, a historic event 100 years after its last hosting. The Paris Olympics will take place from July 26 to August 11, with the Paralympics following from August 28 to September 8.”

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