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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 March 2006, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Royal couple in Sikh shrine visit
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have knelt and kissed the floor of one of the holiest Sikh shrines on a six-day visit to India.

Charles and Camilla were barefoot, with their heads covered by scarves, inside the temple at Anandpur Sahib, in the northern state of Punjab.

The state is the birthplace of Sikhism, and the shrine is second only in importance to the temples in Amritsar.

The royals' two-week trip has already taken in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Prince Charles spoke in both countries of the need for greater tolerance between religions.

The white temple in Anandpur Sahib is where Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa movement of Sikhism in front of thousands of people more than 300 years ago.

His followers follow a code of conduct which includes banning smoking and requires daily meditation on certain prayers.

Sikhism was founded in the Punjab in the late 15th Century by Guru Nanak Dev.


Mats with "Welcome" in red lettering on the steps of the shrine greeted the royal couple.

Inside village elders in vibrant blue turbans honoured the guests, and musicians sat cross-legged on the floor playing traditional music.

The prince and the duchess were shown the nine weapons of Guru Gobind Singh.

They greeted priests in the temple - or gurdwara - by performing a nemaste - bringing their hands together in prayer and bowing their heads.

Camilla gave coins and notes wrapped in material to one of the priests to be placed at the shrine as a mark of respect.

The India Express newspaper has described the duchess as being "daisy fresh" on the visit to the country, and having "sailed right through" her public engagements.

"The duchess came as a pleasant surprise," it said.

A thunderstorm on Monday evening prevented a planned dinner on the lawns of the New Moti Bagh Palace - residence of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

The lavish seven-course meal, including mild lamb korma and grilled fish, had to be moved inside to the main dining hall of the palace.

Royal couple begin tour of Punjab
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