Tourists barred entry into Mamallapuram

Chennai: The ancient and historic coastal town of Mamallapuram off Chennai, which houses magnificent Pallava era monuments, has come under a security blanket ahead of the informal talks between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The informal talks are scheduled to take place on Friday and Saturday in the tourist town that attracts foreign nationals by the drove all through the year.

The Archaeological Survey of India, which maintains the globally renowned monuments has invoked Rule 5 of the Ancient Monuments and Archeological Sites and Remains Rules, 1959, to bar entry of tourists and public at the Group of Monuments in Mamallapuram from Tuesday till the “completion of VVIP visit” due to security reasons.

While Modi is expected to take a chopper from the Chennai airport upon his arrival on Friday and head to the temple town, the Chinese President will check into the luxury Hotel ITC Grand Chola in Chennai and travel to Mamallapuram by road. Xi Jinping had turned down an offer to be flown to Mamallapuram by helicopter.

Sources said that the visiting Chinese leader's security team wants to take no chances with the arrangements here. “Four bullet proof cars are being flown by a special aircraft from Beijing to Chennai for use by the Chinese President and his key team,” said a source.

This is the first major international summit with visiting foreign head of state to take place in Tamil Nadu in many decades.

By Dravida Thambi

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