LIVE BLOG: Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 opening ceremony
SEVEN years after they were awarded the Games - and about seven minutes after they started preparing for them - Delhi's Commonwealth Games has opened with a multi-million pound ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
FLAG BEARERS: Members of Team England - in their red Nehru jackets - march during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi (Reuters)
It means Delhi's final deadline for staging these Games has just expired. There is no turning back now - it's on.
Organising committee chief Suresh Kalmadi was rightly booed by many in the audience when he made his opening remarks.
But this ceremony underlined the spirit and vibrancy of a chaotic but entrancing country whose people deserved better from those in which they put their trust to stage these Games.
I fear in the coming days there will be more stories of inefficiencies and problems. But for one night India and Indians everywhere could party and enjoy their moment in the spotlight.
It was a great show, I hope these Games just haven't had their highlight already.
Well done India. Shame on you Kalmadi.
17.23 BST: Here's A.R. Rahman - a bit of a legend in these parts - with the theme tune. His first draft was criticised as being too downbeat but the Mozart of Madras has turned up the bass now. I'm also being attacked by a cockroach by that is an aside.
17.21 BST: Here comes the fireworks and someone should tell those rickshaw drivers they are on fire
17.06 BST: Ok, I've been pretty negative in recent days, and I still believe rightly so. But this is pretty good stuff, really bringing this chaotic but amazing country alive.
17.00 BST: A tribute now to over 1000 years of Indian history. All very worthy stuff, some stirring music and great to look at it, if difficult to really understand - despite the almost impenetrable media guide we've been supplied.
Expect to see a fleet of auto rickshaws at some point - still the best way to get around Delhi, if a little death-defying.
16.43 BST: A tribute shortly to the ancient tradition of yoga - the ultimate union of mind, body and soul. Altogether now...ummmmmmmmmmmm
16.35 BST: Abhinav Bindra, amazingly India's first individual Olympic champion when he won shooting gold in Beijing, takes the athletes oath. No mention of doping in his oath, unlike the Olympic one, which is a good job when Bindra sees the record of India's wrestlers and weightlifters.
TWITTER: Was Camilla just laughing at the Prime Minister? http://www.twitter.com/BradCumbers
16.28 BST: The Prez gets some fireworks for her announcement - but none for Charlie. Call the Foreign Office, he's been snubbed!!!
16.25 BST: President Patil now declares the Games can 'begin'. I know it's the same thing as Charles said but it's all about diplomacy you see and it caused a bit of a pre-Games stink.
16.23 BST: Prince Charles declares the Games open.
16.21 BST: Prince Charles is now reading a message from Mummy.
The Queen is absent from the Commonwealth Games - it's the first time in 44 years that she will not be at the event. Previously she has attended at some point during the games, either for the opening or closing ceremony.
Her message reads: "I send my very best wishes for what I hope will be the experience of a lifetime."
16.19 BST: Sushil Kumar, a wrestling world champion, hands over the baton to Prince Charles.
16.16 BST: After a relay started by Queen Elizabeth II in October last year, here's the arrival of the Commonwealth Games baton. It's travelled 170,000 miles through 71 Commonwealth countries - the longest relay ever.
16.06 BST: Commonwealth Games Federation chief Michael Fennell is next up. He's not Mr Popular with the locals after some sharp criticism of the organisers.
He mentions the hapless Kalmadi, proudly wearing his air force medals, who is again booed. Maybe he did that on purpose?
"The organising committee has worked tirelessly in preparing for these Games and we commend them for their efforts," said Fennell, in a speech written by Malcolm Tucker.
16.05 BST: Kalmadi gives a shout out to Jacques Rogge, the IOC president. India wants the Olympics in 2020 but there is a lot of PR to do to make that happen.
16.00 BST: "India is ready," says Kalmadi, without the hint of a smirk.
"Over the past few years we've worked hard. There have been delays and many challenges but we've been able to rise above them all."
Kalmadi then thanks the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, who doesn't look very impressed by his fellow politico. What will happen to Kalmadi after these Games?
15.57 BST: Some loud boos for Suresh Kalmadi, the chief of the organising committee. His speech is being drowned out now.
Indian public are rightly fuming at his inept handling of these Games. At least when he mentions Sheila Dikshit, Delhi's Chief Minister, there is a cheer.
He's thanking the media now. He might not in ten days time if the behind the scenes chaos, with regards to results and transport, continues.