Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived at Ahmedabad Airport Jan 31, at the end of the first phase of their Indian tour.
Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived at Ahmedabad Airport Jan 31, at the end of the first phase of their Indian tour. They were greeted by the Governor of Gujrat, Nawab Mehdi Nawas Jang, and his wife.
As they left the airport in two open cars to drive to the Raj Bhavan - Governor's residence - they were mobbed by thousands of friendly, laughing people lining the route. The streets of this textile producing city - called the Manchester of India - was crowded as nowhere else on the Indian tour has been. People crammed rooftops and other vantage point to shout greetings to the royal couple, who were perched on the rolled hoods of their cars, thoroughly enjoying the overwhelming reception.
Police struggled hopelessly to clear a path for the royal couple's car as they drove out of the Residence for an afternoon tour of the city. The population of Ahmedabad is 1,300,000 - of whom almost two-thirds are employed in the cotton mills - and almost every citizen had seemingly taken a holiday to catch a glimpse of the Queen and her husband. As they drove through narrow streets, the crowded balconies overhead seemed bound to collapse in their path.
Another highlight of their drive was a visit to Mahatma Gandhi's ashram (lay settlement) on the banks of the River Sabarmati, where the Indian leader dwelt and directed the nation's struggle for independence. The settlement is a group of simple bungalows containing, now as then,a school for the people who were known as the Untouchables before Gandhi called them Children of God, craft workshops, and a rest house for pilgrims.
The following day, the Queen and the Duke flew to Karachi for a sixteen-day visit to Pakistan before flying to Nepal and back to India to end their visit before flying on to Persia.