Rickshaw ride for Charles in India before barefoot visit to Sikh temple

By Tony Jones, PA Court Correspondent in New Delhi

The Prince of Wales took a ride in a rickshaw and flipped chapatis in a Sikh temple as he celebrated Indian culture and its people.

Charles began a hectic two-day trip by learning about India’s efforts to combat the dense smog that covers New Delhi most autumns, and was taken for a spin in a non-polluting battery powered three-wheeler rickshaw.

He ended his first day in India by meeting pop princess Katy Perry after she joined him for a meeting of his British Asian Trust at an exclusive Mumbai hotel.

The singer, who appeared at a music festival in Mumbai this week, said: “I heard about the work of the British Asian Trust through a friend in India and really wanted to come along to learn more about it.”

He was mobbed by visitors when he visited the Bangla Sahib Gurdwara Sikh Temple to celebrate the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.

Charles Wales makes a chapati at the Bangla Sahib Gurdwara Sikh Temple (Victoria Jones/PA)

Driving the rickshaw was Maria who has benefited from a programme, run by SMV Green, a sustainable transport organisation, which is training some of India’s first female rickshaw drivers.

The 24-year-old part-time student, who only wanted to be known by her first name, was not fazed by the royal passenger in the back of her cab.

She said: “I was very happy to drive the prince and I wasn’t nervous, it was great.”

Charles, who had a cushion on the back seat, travelled at the stately pace of just a few miles an hour as he was driven around 50 metres outside the offices of India’s weather service.

The Prince of Wales’ bare feet during his visit to the temple (Victoria Jones/PA)

He later travelled to the Sikh temple where like any other tourist or worshipper he covered his head with a scarf as a mark of respect and took off his shoes and socks and entered barefoot.

Further scarves were wrapped around Charles’s neck as his guided tour took him to all parts of the place of worship which was packed because of the special anniversary Sikhs are celebrating.

Staff feed thousands of visitors every day and Charles visited the kitchens to watch helpers at work and tried his hand at turning over the chapatis cooking on a large hot plate using a long metal skewer.

Nearby in a hall he stopped to chat to an Indian couple who were eating their free meal of vegetable curry with dahl.

The woman said: “He was asking what the food was and if we thought it was any good, it’s lovely.”

During the day, the prince also held bilateral talks with India’s President Ram Nath Kovind at his official residence Rashtrapati Bhavan, the former home of the British viceroys designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

India’s president and Charles toured its herbal garden with Shripad Yesso Naik, Minister for yurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy.

Charles ended his day in New Delhi by attending a military service at the city’s war cemetery to commemorate the sacrifices of service personnel from India, the UK and across the Commonwealth in the two world wars.