Amritsar, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday visited Amritsar’s Golden Temple complex, where the holiest of Sikh shrines Harmandir Sahib is located.
Guterres, the first UN head to have visited the shrine, offered prayers at the holy temple.
“I want to express my deep respect for the religion of the Sikh people and this wonderful Golden Temple, in which the spirit of peace and tolerance is present. I prayed here as a Catholic but, all people, from all religions in the world, can pray in this holy place,” Guterres said.
“There are unfortunately not many temples in the world where this is possible, and this makes me feel very happy to be here and very proud to be invited. And, at the same time, it increases my admiration for the Sikh communities everywhere: the Sikh community in India, the Sikh community in my part of the world, in Europe, in North America, everywhere where Sikhs are contributing to the development of our world,” he said.
The UN chief, who was accompanied by Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri, was taken around the shrine complex and the ‘Langar Hall’, the largest community kitchen in the world.
Guterres, who sported a white cloth to cover his head, appreciated the work being done at the shrine complex.
“I want to express to my hosts my deep gratitude and wish you all the best – to the wonderful practice that the Golden Temple represents, receiving everybody, sharing with everybody the food, but, more than the food, sharing this wonderful spirit of peace, of harmony, of understanding that we badly need in today’s world,” he said.
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) officials accompanied the visiting dignitary.