Narendra Modi: From tea-seller to Prime Minister

Narendra Modi addressing an audience in New Delhi. Credit: Mail Today/India Today Group/Press Association Images

Narendra Modi, whose BJP party have swept to victory in India's general election, has come a long way since his beginnings in the small town of Vadnagar in northern Gujarat.

He was born to a family of modest means and, according to a biography, spent time as a youngster working on his family's tea stall.

The details of his early life are sketchy - Mr Modi is rumoured to have married at a young age before walking away from his wife to live as a bachelor.

He is then said to have left his home town as a teenager to embark on a spiritual journey, spending two years wandering the Himalayas learning from Hindu holy men known as sadhus.

He first got involved in politics by joining the RSS - an avowedly Hindu nationalist organisation closely linked to the BJP party Modi now heads.

At the same time as pursuing a career in politics, he managed to get a Masters degree in political science.

He rose steadily through Gujarati politics, joining the BJP in 1987, eventually becoming national secretary in 1997.

Narendra Modi raises a victory sign at a BJP meeting in his home state of Gujarat. Credit: Reuters/Amit Dave

Alongside his pro-business, pro-Hindu politics, he has cultivated an image as a man of simple tastes, befitting his small-town background,

He is also renowned for having tremendous levels of energy and regularly doing yoga.

A British biographer, Andy Marino, has also described Mr Modi as a "very personable, open guy" who is happy to give out his phone number to concerned voters.

However, India's large Muslim community may well be nervous about Mr Modi's new administration - he has previously faced a visa ban from the US and the EU for a perceived failure to stop sectarian riots when he was chief minister of Gujarat.

Read: Narendra Modi: Why some will fear India's new leader