The band of the Grenadier Guards played Indian themed music near the Buckingham Palace on Monday during a ceremony to mark the start of UK India Year of Culture.
The change of guards at the palace – widely watched by tourists and others – took place to the tunes of AR Rahman’s song ‘Jai Ho’ from the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire.
Chefs from Veeraswamy, the oldest Indian restaurant in London, rustled up Indian-themed menu in the royal kitchen to mark the event.
The year of culture was announced during the November 2015 visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but the Brexit vote six months later has prompted extra focus as India is among the top countries Britain is courting to compensate for the loss of European market.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is on a four-day visit mainly to represent India at the event, joined by celebrities such as Kapil Dev, Katrina Kaif, Joe Wright, Anoushka Shankar and Rio Ferdinand.
The India day at Buckingham Palace is part of a busy calendar of events that has been put together to celebrate the year, which also marks 70th year of India’s independence.
It includes events by Indian and British institutions such as the British Film Institute, British Library, Kew Gardens, Open University and the Science Museum. Copies of the Magna Carta and Shakespeare’s First Folio are being exhibited in India.