Grand ceremony opens Delhi Games
New Delhi, Oct 3: The wait is finally over. The biggest Commonwealth Games so far was inaugurated by Prince Charles and President Pratibha Patil at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi on Sunday
An impregnable security blanket of 7,500 personnel, including commandos, has been thrown over the grand Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, the venue of today's opening ceremony of the 19th Commonwealth Games.
As one enters the stadium, the only thing visible are the gun-toting security personnel including many in battle fatigues standing besides banners with Games motto 'Come out and Play' written on them.
Numerous check points have been set up along the route with vehicles being strictly kept off from the vicinity of the stadium with 60,000 spectators including Prince Charles, President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and foreign diplomats among other VIPs.
Every residential building around the stadium has a sniper atop it keeping an eye out for any possible trouble.
Though security agency sources say that there is no specific security threat to the Games, nobody wants to take any chance.
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram also visited the stadium to take stock of the situation.
Asked if he was satisfied with the security arrangements, a smiling Chidambaram told PTI, "Ask me on October 14 and I will tell you."
Army has also been kept on standby. While Delhi Police and CRPF personnel are present at very nook and corner inside the stadium campus, NSG commandos have also been pressed into action.
As a further step to thwart any possible aerial attack, the Delhi airspace would also be restricted during the period of the opening ceremony.
Indian Army helicopters with commandos in them were seen doing an aerial recce at regular intervals.
The helicopters will receive additional support from the three Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) which will also be pressed into service to carry out surveillance and keep vigil.
Moreover, sources said about 150 personnel of the Delhi Police's Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) have been trained by the Indian Air Force and the NSG to shoot down suspicious manned or unmanned "flying objects".
Specially trained canines held firmly by their handlers can be seen roaming around sniffing for anything suspicious.
Aerostat star attraction
As the clock struck seven and beautiful fireworks lit the sky to signal the start of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, a huge helium balloon lifted up from the centre of the jam-packed Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium with colourful puppets dangling from it to welcome the spectators.
The Rs. 70 crore aerostat was the star attraction of the ceremony that showcased India's rich culture.
The aerostat is said to be the biggest helium balloon in the world. Being used for the first time for an entertainment event, the aerostat was suspended 25 metres above the ground.
Sized at 40 metresX80 metresX12 metres, the aerostat has a 360 degree projection surface.
Manufactured by Per Lindstrandt and designed by Merk Fsher, it has an underbelly that reflects the lighting on the field of play.
Bindra 4th shooter to carry Indian flag
India's only individual Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra on Sunday became the fourth shooter to carry the national flag in a mega event.
Bindra, who won the gold in the 10 metre air rifle event in Beijing, was elated. He said it was a dream come true.
"As a 15-year-old I represented the country in my first Commonwealth Games in 2002 at Manchester. Today I am living a dream. To represent the country in the Commonwealth Games and also to carry the national flag is a great honour," said Bindra, who was the youngest member of the Indian contingent in Manchester.
Since the 1982 Asian Games, Indian shooters have been flag bearers in different multi-event extravaganza.
The late Karni Singh, a silver medallist in skeet in the World Championships, was the flag bearer at the 1982 Asian Games. World champion pistol shooter Jaspal Rana carried the Indian flag at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.
Athens Olympics silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore carried the Indian flag at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Musical instruments showcase Indian culture
A plethora of musical instruments tonight enthralled a capacity crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium during the opening ceremony of the 19th Commonwealth Games, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of India.
India has always been a land of rich musical heritage and the opening ceremony, which had a number of cultural programmes, saw some traditional and unique musical instruments from different parts of the country.
The ceremony was heralded in traditional Indian way by the blowing of conch or 'shankh', considered auspicious for the start of any event.
Next was the 'Dung Chen', a long trumpet or horn used in Tibetan Buddhist ceremonies and one of the oldest instruments dating back to 1500 BC.
The Dung Chen players along with the conch blowers set the tone for the evening as the famous 'Nagada' players also joined them to provide to mesmerised the spectators.
Nagada, a percussion instrument that resembles the kettle drums of the old Naubat -- traditional ensemble of nine instruments, along with the two wind instruments, provided the background score.
This was followed by the aerostat, filled with 20,000 cubic meter helium gas, rising dramatically to its full height to the thunderous applause of the spectators in a dimly-lit stadium.
The 'Pung', a unique Manipuri hand-beaten drum, then enthralled the audience with the Pung cholom, where the dancers twirl and jumps mid air culminating into a thunderous climax.
As the Pung Cholom subsided, the audience were kept spellbound by another traditional form of drum called Chenda, a cylindrical percussion famous for its loud and rigid sounds.
120 Chenda drummers took to the stage and soon two tribal drummers -- Bihu and Gudum Baja -- came out from under the stage on to the Field of Play.
Soon two more unique musical instruments -- Gaja Dhol and Wangala -- were played as the drummers entered from under the stage as others form choreographic patterns on the field to the provide a memorable evening to the spectators at the 60,000 capacity stadium.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 3 Oct 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 3 Oct 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 4 Oct 2010 00:00:00 IST
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