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A ‘saffron’ welcome to bowl over Team India and Kiwis

The entire hotel was bathed in the golden light of 10,000 diyas (earthen lamps) filled with ghee; they decorated the porch and the heights. As the cricketers entered the hotel, an ‘aarti’ was performed and a saffron ‘tilak’, in place of red, was applied on their forehead.

cities Updated: Oct 26, 2017 22:45 IST
Haidar Naqvi
Haidar Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Kanpur
Kiwis,Team India,India vs New Zealand
New Zealand’s Ross Taylor sports a saffron dupatta after checking in at the hotel in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, on Thursday. The previous tradition of presenting flowers to players was junked in favour of this.(HT Photo)

In a break from the past, Team India and the Kiwis received a saffron welcome after they arrived in Kanpur for a one-day encounter at the Green Park Stadium on Thursday evening.

Vikas Mehrotra, managing director of the hotel where the two teams are lodged, said the plan to welcome the cricketers was inspired by chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s grand Diwali celebrations at Ayodhya.

“The teams are coming here in the backdrop of Diwali celebrations. The management wants to give the players a feel of real Indian tradition,” he said.

“Diwali is celebrated in this part till Katki (the month of Kartik). We have decided to follow this tradition,” he said.

The entire hotel was bathed in the golden light of 10,000 diyas (earthen lamps) filled with ghee; they decorated the porch and the heights. Earlier, the hotel would use flickering, colourful lights for decoration.

As the cricketers entered the hotel, an ‘aarti’ was performed and a saffron ‘tilak’, in place of red, was applied on their forehead.

The tradition of presenting flowers to players has been done away with and they were presented a saffron stole, like the ‘Ram Nami dushala’.

The cake-cutting ceremony on the 10th floor of the hotel has also been junked and replaced with a religious ritual. Earlier, the team captain used to cut a cake in the presence of team members, which was a pre-match ceremony for a good outing at the stadium.

To top it all, 12 schoolchildren will present Ramleela before the players. It is yet to be finalised if it would be staged before or after the match. “Children are preparing for the performance for about two weeks now. They are excited and want to put up a great show of their culture,” said a staff member at the hotel.

First Published: Oct 26, 2017 22:44 IST