President Patil visits Forbidden City

Beijing, May 28 (IANS) President Pratibha Patil went sight-seeing in Beijing Friday, visiting the Forbidden City, the throne room there and other halls showcasing the Quing emperor’s belongings, besides the magnificent Temple of Heaven, a complex of Taoist buildings.

Patil first visited the Forbidden City, a 15th century complex, and spent 35 minutes admiring its majestic splendour.

The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing and now houses the Palace Museum.

In the visitor’s book, Patil wrote: ‘I am very happy to have visited the Forbidden City which reflects the ancient civilization of China like India’s. Best wishes for the progress and prosperity of the people of China.’

The president also visited the Temple of Heaven situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing, in Chongwen district. The complex was visited by the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual prayer ceremonies for good harvest.

‘I am very happy to witness the aesthetics of Chinese civilization,’ Patil wrote in the visitor’s book there.

Patil was accompanied by Minister of Food Processing Industries Subodh Kant Sahay, former union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Indian ambassador to China S. Jaishankar.

Patil also met former Beijing Mayor Jia Qinglin in the Great Hall of the People.

The president will travel to Luoyang Saturday to inaugurate an Indian-style Buddhist temple, which was inspired by the Sanchi Stupa and was built at a cost of $4 million. She will then go to Shanghai.

Patil’s six-day visit began Wednesday. It ends May 31.