IANS | Last Modified - Nov 07, 2010, 09:13 PM IST
New Delhi: US President Barack Obama and wife Michelle spent half an hour strolling around Humayun's Tomb, admiring the grandeur of the 16th century World Heritage site monument, which they described as 'spectacular' and the Indian capital as a "modern place rooted in civilization".
Later, the Obamas, in a personal touch, interacted with the children of labourers involved in the upkeep of the monument and even gave them gifts.
Writing in the visitor's book, the US first couple said: "Through the rise and fall of empires, Indian civilization has endured and led the world to new heights of achievement. The world owes a profound debt to India and its people."
An ASI official escorted the US first couple on a guided tour of the monument.
Commenting to reporters on the workmanship of the structure, Obama said: "It took seven years to build this (monument). If you try to build something like this in seven years in the US, it will be tough."
The Obamas had a 10 minute tete-a-tete with a group of 14 children from a school run by the ASI.
"They said we should work hard and study more," said Vishal, the eldest of the 14 children present at Humayun's Tomb during the visit.
All the children were in their school uniform, grey shorts and red-striped shirt. Vishal had a special gift for the Obamas - a welcome message written by him on a slate: ‘Welcome to His Excellency US President Barack Obama and his wife'.
Most of the other students were as young as 5.
A gift box containing a silver bookmark with a Presidential seal and Barack Obama's signature engraved was presented to the 14 students by Michelle Obama at the end of their interview.
The Humayun's tomb is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is said to be the structure on which the Taj Mahal in Agra was modelled. It was built by Mughal emperor Humayun in memory of his wife.
The Obamas arrived at the site at 5 p.m., amid a swarm of US and Indian security officials. They left after spending around half an hour.