Out & About
The Taj Mahal floats on the Thames
London hosts India extravaganza
It was the day the Taj Mahal came to London. A replica of the palace was floated on the Thames to mark the start of three months of cultural events with their roots in India...
Built in the capital and decorated by Indian creative talent, the Taj Mahal floats past one of London's famous landmarks to launch the India Now season.
Shilpa Shetty and Ken Livingstone
A host of Indian personalities joined Mayor Ken Livingstone, Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty and Indian-born Joanna Lumley for the opening of the summer-long initiative.
India Now will feature more than 1,500 individual events celebrating the capital's strengthening relationship with the country.
Indians make up the largest ethnic minority group in London, accounting for 6% of London's population, reaching 437,000 in 2006.
"a great start"
"It's very much about updating Londoners on their perceptions of India," said Mark Prescott, director of cultural campaigns for the London Mayor's office.
"And hopefully, if that gets recognition in India and Londoners are fascinated about Indian culture, that will therefore lead to strengthening ties, increased tourism, increased cultural collaborations."
The season will include showcases and events across the capital on Indian art, film, food, theatre, music, business and fashion.
"I think it's a great start this festival," said fashion designer Manish Arora, whose work will be featured at the V&A this autumn. "They should be doing more of this, because in India we have so many things to show.
"Three months isn't really long enough."
"inspired by cities"
Indian artist Suchi Chidambaram has been working from a Battersea studio to create specially commissioned artwork on display at the base of the Taj Mahal replica.
Artist Suchi Chidambaram
"London and India are so connected at present and there's so much more to do in the future," she said.
"Being a painter, I'm inspired by cities and this is a wonderful opportunity to be able to depict London and India side by side."
18 months in the planning, the season has been designed to appeal to a broad range of palates and challenge our perceptions of what India has to offer.
It's an Indian Summer that Londoners, regardless of the weather, are welcome to enjoy.
last updated: 18/07/07