The Queen’s Baton Relay, similar to the Olympic Torch Relay, is a relay around the world held prior to the beginning of the Commonwealth Games. The Baton carries a message from the Head of the Commonwealth, currently Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, to the athletes of the Games. The Relay traditionally begins at Buckingham Palace in London as a part of the city’s Commonwealth Day festivities. The Baton’s journey symbolises the unity and shared ideals of the Commonwealth of Nations, and enables communities beyond the host city to share in the Games’ celebrations.
The 2010 Games will take place in New Delhi, near the internationally acclaimed BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham Mandir. The Queen entrusted the baton to the President of India, Her Excellency Pratibha Patil, at Buckingham Palace in London on Thursday 29 October 2009.
BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) contributed to the cultural ceremony within the Palace forecourt and around the Victoria Memorial in front of the Palace gates. The ceremony commenced at 10.45am where young boys and girls from BAPS performed in the colourful dances to mark the occasion. BAPS volunteers also signalled the auspicious beginning of the Relay in traditional style with the sounding of ten shankhs (conch shells).
The Queen’s Baton thus commenced its journey that will see it travel over 190,000 kilometres through 70 other countries and territories over 340 days, ending at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi during the opening ceremony of the Games on 3 October 2010.