After a controversy plagued build up to the event, the CWG is finally ready to kick off. Welcome to The Hindu's minute-by-minute update of the telecast of the opening ceremony in New Delhi.
Be sure to log on tomorrow (Monday) morning at 8 am for our live coverage of the action from New Delhi. Until then, it's goodbye!
And that does it for the day. After a enthralling opening ceremony, the skepticism surrounding the Games should surely subside to a big extent. We were promised a special show by the oragnisers, and we certainly got it.
"Lets go, India!". Fine way to bring things to a close.
Time for Jai Ho. The song from the Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire. He is joined by excited spectators, who know this song pretty well. Sing along session.
Here comes A.R. Rahman! The closing act. A dapper Rahman in a white shirt and jacket sings the CWG theme song, surrounded by dancers and white streaks of light pointed to the sky.
Wide variety of Indian dance genres here, and I'm honestly struggling to identify a few of them.
22:36: The dancing continues. In keeping with the diversity theme, we see Karagattam and Kavadi side by side.
An LED figure of Gandhi sits in the centre of the stadium.
22:27: Artistes draw a scene with Mahatma Gandhi in the Dandi March. Not just any type of art, this is special. The image is conjured with their fingers on sand. Sand art, my colleague tells me.
22:26: Music stops. Loud cheer erupts. The crowd wants more.
22:25: Bhangra, Bharathnatyam, all types of dance on display. Massive undertaking to organise this show, no doubt. "How do they do it every time without mistakes?", asks the commentator in amzement.
Just to give you an idea of what to expect, our team here will bring you live coverage of all days of the CWG. With inputs from our colleagues who are in Delhi, of course.
22:13: More dancers appear. Men dressed as politicians, cobblers, cycle repair men, dabbawallas etc enter the scene as a representation of the common man in India. All walks of life.
22:09: What is India without Bollywood? A massive train slowly enters the stadium, and a smartly dressed man dances on top of the train. What is he dancing to? You guessed it, Chaiya Chaiya from Dil Se.
22:06: The six mystical chakras, dipected in the body of 3D structure of a yogi whose distinct shape is formed by golden circular lights. This marks the end of the presentation on yoga.
22:04: I know i've said this before, but the lighting effects really takes my breath away. A radiant blue now covers the stadium.
21:59: Back to the Opening Ceremony. Yound girls and boys practice yoga, the ancient method used to attain physical and mental strength. A lot of asanas being performed. Extremely flexible performers who can bend their bodies to unbelievable poses, just another benefit of Yoga.
21:53: Meanwhile, our roving reporter Kunal Diwan has some tennis news from the venue. He watched the Indian tennis team at practice and this what he had to say - "Sania Mirza was pretty focussed during practice, as was Bopanna. Devvarman had a torrid session today. Perhaps, his old enemy. the heat is getting to him now? Will finally get some action when Bops opens on centre court tomorrow morning. The main act, however, is the evening mixed doubles of Paes- Sania." Nicely done, Kunal. Keep the news coming.
21:40:The cultural events begin with an illustration of the master-disciple concept. A giant Bodhi tree takes shape, with the aerostat forming its gigantic canopy. Odissi dancers pour into the stadium and execute synchrony. Bharatnatyam now, splendidly choreographed by Saroja Vaidyanathan. Kathak follows, in all its rhythmic grandeur. The graceful, dainty movements of Manipuri embrace Krishna's raas leela. Mohiniattam augurs in flavours of God's own country. Andhra Pradesh's Kuchipudi dancers join the multitude of dancers. Now over a thousand in number, the dancers move as one, bringing the Bodhi tree alive.
21:31: Abhinav Bindra, captain of the Indian team steps up and takes oath. India's first individual gold medallist swears on the national flag to participate "For the honour of the Commonwealth and the glory of sport".
21:25: The 150-member military band marches in. Flag bearers of Commonwealth nations take their positions, as the Commonwealth Games Federation flag is brought in, and hoisted amid thunderous applause. The flag will fly high until it is handed over to the host of the next Commonwealth Games.
And now it is official. The Games have begun.
21:11: President Pratibha Patil talks of how sportspersons strive to handle success and failure in their career, and how this is an inspiration for all. Indians must use this opportunity to show the world the good quality, she says. "Let the Games begin!," she ends with a flourish.
21:07: Prince Charles says he is representing the Queen. "When countries compete together like this, it is good for bringing peace around the world," says Prince Charles, who is reading a message written by the Queen. He also praises the organisers. "I have much pleasure is declaring the 19th Commonwealth Games.. open."
21:03: Vijender Singh, one of India's top boxers, runs in with the Queen's baton. He passes it to another boxer, Mary Kom. Mary Kom, it is must be remembered, is a five-time world champion. Mary Kom to Samaresh Jung. Jung to Sushil Kumar, the wrestler. Sushil Kumar takes a long run and hands it over to Prince Charles. Jung was the given the best athlete award in the previous CWG.
20:59: "Welcome to India", says Manmohan Singh, much to the crowd's delight. "I wish all the athletes, OC the best of luck.. Jai Hind!", he signs off.
20:54: Mike Fennell's turn with the mic. Fair play, tolerance, respect for all, says Fennell as he talks of the important values associated with sport. Applause for Fennell and the Prime Minister is next.
20:51: "Many have told me that the village is good, better than some of other venues they have been to. You will come to India as friends, but leave as family.... Jai hind!," says Suresh Kalmadi.
20:50: Kalmadi thanks A.B. Vajpayee, the former Prime Minister of India, under whose reign the bid to host the Games was won.
Kalmadi talks of the economic benefits that the Games will bring. He also mentions the challenges faced and how they were overcome.
20:42: Suresh Kalmadi, Organising Committee Chairman, starts his speech. He begins by greeting all the dignitaries - Manmohan Singh, Pratubha Patil, Mike Fennell, Sheila Dikshit and many others.. "I would like to thank the army of 20,000 volunteers", followed by a deafening roar from the spectators. Clearly the people know the value of volunteers, who are often pushed way into the background.
20:38: The host nation gets the crowd delirious. Saving the best for last? I would think so.
20:29: Here comes India! I had the feeling that the Indians were next when I heard the noise levels from the crowd increase. Abhinav Bindra leads the contingent, followed by the massive squad. A smiling Manmohan Singh claps, as does Pratibha Patil. Happy, excited faces in the crowd. The men are dressed in sherwani and the women in brown saris. Looking good, people!
20:26: Wales! Huge number of Wales supporters in India, if Facebook is to believed. If you recall, the Wales team were the ones who posted pictures of the Games village which showed the Games in good light. Negated all the bad press the village had got.
20:25: The crowd falls silent again. They're waiting for the Indians. Calm before the storm?
20:22: The drummers, who gave us a spellbinding show at the start, are still playing and dancing in the background. Volume turned way down, but enjoyable nevertheless
20:20: The West Indies is well represented. Here come St. Lucia.
20:18: Sri Lanka seems to be popular with the crowd too.
20:15: The crowd is a mix of Indians and foreigners. Did I mention that the stadium is chock-a-block? Not a seat available tonight.
20:10: The Pakistan team is greeted with a huge cheer from the crowd. Yet another example of why politics is best kept away from sport.
20:08: Norfolk Islands. The TV commentator is stunned as he mentions the population of this country is just over 2000. I'm stunned too. That could well fit in my Facebook friends list. Credit to these smaller countries for proving that good things come in small packages.
20:06: The Nigerians look sauve in their outfit. A traditional flowing gown with white and green stripes. Why white and green? it is the colours of their national flag.
20:04: Welcome, New Zealand. The Kiwis had a few doubts about their participation in the Games, but decided to compete. All's well that ends well (Insert smiley here if you are a Gtalk/sms fan).
The crowd has gone a bit silent now. Expect them to go crazy when the Indian squad arrives.
8:02 pm: Montserrat, another of the smaller countries.
8:01 pm: The Malaysians enter the stadium, dressed in sharp suits. The countries are divided between tracks and formal wear as their attire.
8 pm: Mike Fennell, CWG chief, is here.
Right so the first hour of the ceremony is done. Below are the events from 7 pm to 8 pm (latest on top). To make things easier, I will mention the time from hereon.
The aerostat shows the flag of Jamaica. Calypso flavour is here.
England are next. Nathan Robertson - the badminton player - is their flag bearer. The camera pans to Prince Charles (obviously), who nods in appreciation. You might remember that the Queen was supposed to be in Delhi, but couldn't make it. Prince Charles did make it.
Amazing to see small countries here on this stage. Belize, Dominica.. Must be such an huge day in the lives of the sportspeople from these nations... Hope they impress on the field.
Prince Charles sitting alongside President Pratibha Patil.
When each country's athletes enter, the aerostat displays their name in huge, colourful style.
Belize makes their way in. With a population of 333,000, they are one of the smaller countries here at the Games.
Bangladesh and Barbados follow.
Trinidad and Tobago are next. We have an Indian lady dressed in a pretty sari leading each team out, holding a board with the country's name on it.
Here come the participating nations. Australia lead the way. They look happy to be at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, and why not. Lots of jumping and waving from the contingent as they walk around the stadium.
The lighting in the stadium is brilliant. The orange has now made way for an orange with white hue.
The Opening Ceremony will end with a concert by A.R. Rahman. Stay tuned, it promises to live up to the billing of grand finale.
I am going to try and keep things positive on this forum. The negative stories have been done (did you say overdone?), time for some good news methinks.
Got to hand it to the children who just gave us the dance performance. I've been told they practiced really hard in spite of school responsibilties. They did not disappoint. Absolutely nailed it.
Hariharan takes a bow.
Noted singer Hariharan belts out a few numbers. The children huddle under a huge sheet. On this giant white sheet now appears a painting of a hand with mehendi. Painting skills of the kids to the fore.
Oh, the next performance begins. We have children doing a dance. The top view of the dance reveals they are shaped like a giant 'Welcome/Namaste' sign, to the tune of 'Swagatham'. Welcome to my India!
By the way, we have our two reporters - Keerthivasan and Kunal Diwan - covering the event from the stadium. Be sure that I will bug them for interesting takes from the stadium.
Need to get my breath back. Exciting start to the mega event. Good to see on-field events, marks the end of the countless controversies which appeared in the lead up. Well, maybe not the end, but pushed down the priority list for sure.
The crowd go wild with appreciation after the drumming set ends. Prince Charles looks pleased with proceedings.
The entire stage is filled with an orange glow thanks to the projector. The stage is filled with drummers who also dance like professionals. This is a 'feels good to be an Indian' show.
A yound child - 6 years old - plays the tabla. The announcer calls him Keshav the child prodigy, I agree. Well done Keshav. Don't even want to go into how sad my life was when I was your age.
Lots of music, musicians with drums fill the stage. Mesmerising sound. We have artistes from all parts the country, Karnataka to Kerala to states in the North East.
What comes to you mind when you think of India? Diversity. That is what is being showcased now.
There is huge balloon like figure with colourful reflectors, suspended some 25 feet above the ground. Must say this is really impressive.
The crowd counts down.. 4...3..2...1.. Fireworks light the sky!
Home Minister P. Chidambaram sits in fromt of the PM.
National anthem being played, spectators and dignitaries rise.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has arrived. The announcer praises the PM as the country's top leader is seated near former President Abdul Kalam. Prince Charles follows Manmohan Singh, and now Pratibha Patil joins.
And we're off. The announcer at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium gives a welcome speech to a massive crowd that has gathered. The stadium is filled to capacity. Well, Enthiran is not the only event running to packed houses!
The moment has arrived. "Will the Commonwealth Games happen?", "Will the stadiums get ready before the event?", "What about security?".. Well it is time to rest easy. The CWG is up and running, and we are just 20 minutes from the start of the opening ceremony to be held in New Delhi.
Welcome to The Hindu's coverage of the 2010 Commonwealth Games. We will bring you live updates on all the important events from New Delhi.