They came from the far corners of India with their booming drums, 1,000 of them, setting the pace for a dazzling Commonwealth Games opening ceremony on Sunday.
As a helium aerostat crowned the venue and fireworks went off in the sky, the opening act by the drummers, Rhythm of India, filled the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium with electrifying energy.
Thousands of spectators were in for a treat as suspended puppets danced to life to the beat of the drummers, dressed in white and red traditional Indian costumes.
Musicians from Manipur performed the dance Pung Cholom, followed by the Chenda drummers of Kerala who used their cylindrical percussion instruments to produce powerful sounds.
Gaja Dhol and Wangala drummers then joined in as did the Bihu and Gudum Baja. Punjab's popular dhol beaters also poured out from under the stage.
A showstealer was Keshava, a seven-year-old tabla player from Puducherry, whose solo mesmerized spectators.
It was in every manner an Indian welcome for the guests and visitors who could not but break into thunderous applause.