| Updated at: 2007 PST, Sunday, October 03, 2010|
NEW DELHI: The 2010 Commonwealth Games ceremony started in New Delhi on Sunday with a near-capacity 60,000 crowd rapturously applauding the opening laser display.
Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, were introduced to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium along with Indian President Prathiba Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the audience stood for the national anthem.
Nagada drummers beat out the countdown to the opening accompanied by traditional Shankha trumpeters as the stadium lights were dimmed and the "Aerostat", a reportedly nine-million-dollar (400-million-rupee) white helium-filled balloon, rose 25 metres (80 feet) above ground level.
Hundreds of thousands of residents of the Indian capital were expected to line the streets, with a global television audience of more than a billion watching the two-and-a-half-hour event which heralds 11 days of competition.
More than 4,000 competitors are expected to take part from 71 countries.
The Games are the 19th in total and only the second to be staged in Asia, following Kuala Lumpur 1998.