The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall began their 9 day trek across India in Rishhikesh, awash in crimson roses and marigolds. The couple viewed an Aarti ceremony which is held nightly at sundown on the Ganges River.
The city is known as a sacred Hindu site for pilgrimages and teaching. It was made popular in the 1960’s when The Beatles joined Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in transcendental meditation classes.
“It’s a particular joy to join you here on the banks of the Ganges this evening because it is, above all else, my first visit to the Ganges and so from that point of view it is a very special occasion for both myself and my wife,” The Prince commented in The Telegraph.
Charles took a moment to refer to the impact the floods had in the region this past summer; “we also wanted to stress how deeply we felt for all those people who suffered so dreadfully as a result of the awful floods in June – our thoughts and prayers were so much with those families who have had to suffer the appalling catastrophe.”
The Indian excursion will have the couple touring the country and taking part in the traditions and cultures of its varied people as well as acknowledge the work of some of the Prince’s charitable organisations.
Solo engagements by Camilla will also take place within her personal interests of equestrianism, osteoporosis and literacy.
This is the third official visit by the couple; their last visit was in 2010 for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
This trip will prove to be their most wide-ranging yet, as they travel to Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Kochi, to meet with business, religious as well as political leaders.
The Prince will take part in “an off-road trip into an “elephant corridor” in Kerala,” and they will be “attending a gala dinner in Mumbai with a Bollywood flavour,” reports The Evening Standard.
The couple will also mark Remembrance Sunday whilst in India.
During their trip, Charles will officially become a ‘pensioner’ when he turns 65 on 14 November.
The couple will leave India and will travel to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that Charles will be hosting on behalf of the Queen in Sri Lanka.
“For me, the Commonwealth is something rather special and worth cherishing. It is as old as I am, and so has been present throughout my life, as something to which the Queen and other members of my family attach great value,” The Prince noted in The Evening Standard.
Tomorrow’s highlights include a visit to a military academy together; Charles will then visit the Forest Research Institute, while Camilla will tour Doon School, a prominent boarding school for boys.