The organisers of the Games promised that the opening ceremony would be better than that of the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, insisting they will "put on the best opening ceremony the world has ever seen". They have done it. They proved it.
One could almost run out of words to describe the Opening Ceremony of the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi. Spectators already in a trance following the initial part of the show were left enthralled as the Tree of Knowledge sprang to life. Representing the Bodhi Tree, the brilliantly-lit and colourful display was choreographed by some of India’s most famous exponents of dance. Tabla, Sitar and Mridangam players joined Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kathak, Manipuri, Mohiniyattam and Kuchipudi dancers in paying homage to India’s famed Guru-Shishya tradition. Images of Gautama Buddha were projected onto the aerostat which, as the centrepiece, changed colours to reflect the passage of seasons.
A sporting event is always about human fitness and health. And what better way to focus on health than a segment on the ancient Indian philosophy of Yoga? Performers displayed some very complicated asanas to depict the famous Yogic way of life – representing the union of mind, body and soul – as the ephemeral shape of a man and chakras representing Kundalini energy rose from the ground! As the lights went dim, Buddhist chants, hymns, azaan and Gurbani sounded to remind the audience of India’s famous diversity, one that permeates to the very soul.
Of course, what would India be without its famous railways? Not just a lifeline that connects all corners of the nation, the Great Indian Journey is an indelible part of our popular culture. The colours of India, the hustle-and-bustle of its markets, the variety of its folk culture and the symbols that touch everyone’s lives, came together to show the vibrancy of its harmonious society that is united in its diversity.
The audience was then treated to Celebrating India - a graceful exposition of dance from across the nation. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Oscar-winning composer and musician Mr. A.R. Rahman took his place on stage for the Grand Finale! The audience was in raptures as Mr. Rahman, who enjoys the sort of adulation normally reserved for rock stars, performed his Delhi 2010 Anthem, Jiyo, Utho, Badho, Jeeto and his Academy Award-winning Jai Ho!