Heavy downpour and unprecedented security cover failed to dampen people's spirits as Delhiites turned up in large numbers for the country's 65th Independence Day celebrations at the magnificent Red Fort in New Delhi on Monday.
The rain god did not show any mercy as showers that began around 5.30 am continued through the 90-minute celebrations that started at 7.00 am and came to a close at 8.20 am when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh concluded his 40-minute speech.
A total of 28.5 mm of rains was recorded in the past 24 hours ending 8.30 am.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was received by defence minister A K Antony, and the three service chiefs at the Lahore Gate.
Defence secretary introduced the general officer commanding, Delhi Area, to the Prime Minister. Then Singh, accompanied by the general officer commanding, Delhi Area, Manvendra Singh, proceeded towards the saluting base.
The most excited among the audience were children from various schools in the capital.
Dressed in track suits, about 3,000 children from 35 schools of the national capital attended the gathering.
As soon as the cavalcade of the Prime Minister arrived at the venue, the children got up from their seats and waved excitedly at him braving heavy rains.
As the tricolour opened majestically, the cannons boomed and the sound of 21 guns brought a sudden frenzy as pigeons took to the air.
The children cheered when a large number of balloons were released in the sky at the end of the function to signal the spirit of true freedom.
As it was raining, Singh addressed the nation from a closed enclosure at the ramparts of the Red Fort after unfurling the tricolour.
Gun-totting security personnel were all over the Red Fort keeping a tight vigil on the area to thwart any untoward incident.
Anoushka, 12, who came to the venue at around 4 AM, said she was "very much" excited to be part of the Independence Day celebrations.
"I have been excited about this for the past one week. Though I got up very early and I am happy to be here today (Monday) to see unfurling of the national flag," she said.
However, Ranjan, a 10-year-old student, was not too excited about participating in the celebrations as he had earlier taken part in the event last year.
"Last year also I came here for the flag hoisting ceremony. I had to get up very early this morning too...and it was raining very heavily," he said.