"India has arrived" -- this summed up the international media comments on the dazzling opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on Sunday.
Newspapers in two major Commonwealth countries, Australia and Great Britain, used terms like 'An ancient land opens its heart to the world', 'India opens doors to the world at opening ceremony' and 'India sweeps aside Games shame' to describe the two-hour cultural extravaganza that unfolded at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium last night.
People across Britain watched the ceremony live on BBC and were all praise for it with NRI Industrialist Lord Swraj Paul summing up the public reaction by stating, "India has done itself proud. It was a great show."
'The Guardian' newspaper said it was a moment of national pride for India, which had drawn flak for the troubled build-up to the Games.
"'India has arrived': spectacular ceremony opens Commonwealth Games," read the newspaper's headline.
"Concerns of recent weeks forgotten as dazzling event launches games amid atmosphere of national pride and celebrations," it said.
"At exactly two minutes past seven tonight, a huge inflatable blimp rose slowly and smoothly into the hot air above Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to the sound of hundreds of traditional drums, pipes and conch shells, and the cheers of 65,000 people.
"This was the moment that 1.2 billion people – there are few in India who were still unaware of the event – had been waiting for," it added.
'The Daily Telegraph' marvelled at how smoothly the ceremony was conducted after all the organisational goof-ups that marred its run-up.
"No collapsing scenery or malfunctioning sound system. No fluffed lines, botched choreography or missed cues and not a single stray dog in sight. The preparations for the XIXth Commonwealth Games may have been an unmitigated disaster but India certainly knows how to put on a show," it said.
"A dazzling, colourful, high-octane opening ceremony that was part Bollywood, part cultural extravaganza, did much to dispel the nightmares of the past fortnight, thrilling a sell-out crowd in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium as well as the athletes and officials from 71 Commonwealth nations.
"It even managed to start on time, to the very second, proving there are some deadlines that Games organisers are capable of meeting," the newspaper said taking a dig at the missed venue-completion deadlines that threatened to derail the Games at one stage.