President William Ruto on Tuesday removed his shoes and walked with socks at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial in India during his inaugural state visit to the Asian country.
The memorial, situated at the location where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated in 1948, holds significant cultural and historical importance.
As per the rules governing the site, visitors are required to remove their shoes as a sign of respect. President Ruto, following this tradition, walked barefoot along with his delegation, exemplifying reverence for the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi.
During the visit, President Ruto laid a wreath at the memorial park and participated in a brief prayer ceremony led by the officials at the site.
The memorial, designed by Vanu G Bhuta, has earned accolades for its architectural design and serves as a national shrine dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi.
The memorial park itself is adorned with grass lawns and trees, reflecting the simplicity that Gandhi advocated. Notably, some of the trees on the site have been planted by renowned world leaders, including Queen Elizabeth II, according to the Indian government.
The ceremony, conducted every Friday, holds particular significance in honoring the day Mahatma Gandhi passed away.
The site also houses museums dedicated to various leaders, such as Lal Bahadur Shashtri, Indira Gandhi, Jawaharalal Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi, and Sanjay Gandhi.
President Ruto’s adherence to the tradition of removing shoes during this visit is not an isolated incident.
Similar practices were observed during the G20 meeting, where leaders like India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted dignitaries, including US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
During that meeting, leaders either walked barefoot or with socks, and some opted for felt slippers, demonstrating respect for the cultural norms even in the face of adverse weather conditions.