‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ experience for guests at G20 Summit dinner, millet dishes on menu

New Delhi: President Droupadi Murmu on Saturday hosted a grand dinner for G20 guests at Bharat Mandapam — the venue for the Summit — here, and hoped that the dignitaries experienced India’s time-honoured tradition of “Atithi Devo Bhava” with the best of the country’s cuisines.

The delicacies served to the guests included dishes made from “Shree Anna” (millets) — considered as super foods — and Kashmiri Kahwa, according to the dinner’s menu which reflected India’s diverse culinary tradition.

In a post on ‘X’, Murmu said it was a pleasure to host the heads of delegations of the G20 nations, guest countries and international organisations at the magnificent Bharat Mandapam for the G20 Summit gala dinner.

“Experiencing our time-honoured tradition of Atithi Devo Bhava, I am sure that our distinguished guests are enjoying the best of Indian culture, cuisine and hospitality during their stay with us, as we work together for a better future,” she said and shared pictures with some G20 guests.

Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the world leaders and other guests, including US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, before the start of the dinner from the reception dais, whose backdrop showcased the ruins of the Nalanda University in Bihar besides India’s G20 presidency theme — ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – One Earth, One Family, One Future’.

The ruins of the Nalanda university, one of the oldest educational institutions of the world, is a UNESCO world heritage site.

President Murmu and PM Modi received Biden and exchanged greetings briefly on the dais. They also interacted with Sunak, who was accompanied by his wife Akshata Murty.

“A medley of traditions, customs and climate, Bharat is diverse in many ways. Taste connects us. We celebrate ‘Sharad Ritu’, the autumn season of abundance in this menu. It showcases the wealth of ingredients across Bharat, expressing our rich culinary heritage in a modern mosaic dedicated to the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’,” reads the all-vegetarian menu paper of the dinner.

To give the taste of millets grown across India “to our esteemed guests, we have included a few dishes in the menu today”, which use different types of millets, namely: Foxtail millet (in Paatram), Little millet (in Vanavarnam) and Barnyard millet (in Madhurima),” reads another page of the menu, mentioning that the dinner was hosted by the “President of Bharat”.

Paatram ‘A breath of fresh air’ — Foxtail millet leaf crisps topped with a yoghurt sphere and spiced chutney — was part of the starter.

In the main course, Vanavarnam ‘Strength from the soil’ — jackfruit galette served with glazed forest mushrooms, little millet crisps and curry leaf tossed Kerala red rice, was served, according to the menu.

Indian breads — “Mumbai Pao” (onion seed flavoured soft bun) and “Bakarkhani” (cardamom-flavoured sweet flat bread) — were also on the special dinner’s menu.

“Madhurima” ‘Pot of gold’ (cardamom-scented barnyard millet pudding, fig-peach compote and ambemohar rice crisps) was served as dessert.

Kashmiri Kahwa, filter coffee and Darjeeling tea were among the beverages served to the guests.

Nearly 300 guests, including heads of states and those invited by the Indian government, attended the dinner.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director and Chairman Kristalina Georgieva, who was dressed in Indian attire Salwar Kurta, World Bank President Ajay Banga along with his wife Ritu Banga, and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina were among the first to arrive at the newly built convention for the dinner.

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his wife Yoko Kishida, who was wearing a saree, Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, along with his spouse, and Mauritian PM Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and his wife, were among other dignitaries welcomed by Murmu and Modi.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and his wife, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were also received by the two leaders.

The prime minister was also seen explaining to some of the G20 leaders, including Biden, Sunak and his wife Akshata, Macron and Albanese, about the Nalanda university.

Bharat Mandapam — the newly built international convention and exhibition centre — and its verdant lawns dazzled at night with colourful illumination, while its gurgling fountains and the ‘Nataraja’ statue placed on front of the state-of-the-art building painted a pretty picture.

In a significant milestone under India’s G20 presidency, the 55-member African Union on Saturday became a new permanent member of the grouping of the largest economies of the world. It is the first expansion of the influential bloc since its inception in 1999.

All member countries of the G20 accepted Prime Minister Modi’s proposal to bring the key bloc of the Global South to the high table of the world’s top economies.

Earlier in the day, President Murmu said India’s G20 Presidency theme, ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – One Earth, One Family, One Future’, is a global roadmap for sustainable, inclusive, and human-centric development.

“A warm welcome to all Heads of Delegations of the G20 nations, guest countries, and international organisations participating in the 18th G20 Summit in New Delhi,” Murmu had said in a post on ‘X’.

The G20 Summit began on Saturday and will conclude on Sunday.