Glasgow: Scotland rolled out a spectacular opening ceremony on Wednesday with dazzling and colourful display of their unique culture and heritage on a breathtaking night, which also had some Indian flavour to set the stage for the 20th Commonwealth Games here.
A surprisingly subdued Glasgow suddenly sprang to life and exuberance with a three-hour mesmerising show of light and sound and colourful hues which the organisers claimed was watched by more than one billion people.
As per convention, the head of Commonwealth countries Queen Elizabeth II declared the Games Open. "It is my greatest pleasure to declare the 20th Commonwealth Games open" Her Majesty said under a blue Glasgow sky to signal Scotland's third CWG and first after 1986 when Duke of Edinburgh played host.
A host of dignitaries including British Prime Minister David Cameron, Scottish government first minister Alex Salmond and Commonwealth Games Federation President Prince Imran Tunku also added to the start of Scotland's biggest sporting event which is estimated to have cost the host country around one billion dollars.
Britain's all time most successful Olympian cyclist and a Scottish himself, Sir Chris Hoy was given the honour of presenting the Queens Baton to Her Majesty who read out her message to the Commonwealth before declaring open the Games to be competed for 11 days among 4929 athletes from 71 nations and territories of the erstwhile British Empire.
India had their slice of attention with cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar turning up in a brief video clip, urging people to donate for the improvement of the living condition of children throughout the world in his role as the Global Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF which partnered with Glasgow 2014 in a first-of-its-kind initiative.
The Indian contingent headed by flag bearer and Olympic silver medallist shooter Vijay Kumar led the Parade of Nations, by virtue of being hosts in 2010 Delhi edition, as the men looked dapper in black blazers and gray trousers along with head gear while the women athletes wore sari's.
The 35,000 capacity Celtic stadium cheered as the Indians entered with the tune of popular Bollywood numbers 'nagada nagada' and 'pyar do' filling the Glasgow air.
England also got a rousing welcome despite the Games being held a few months before the Scottish vote on September 18 to decide whether they will remain as part of United Kingdom or become a separate nation.
The host country contingent, dressed in their traditional attire and walking under their flag Saltire, understandably got a deafening reception while coming in last.