This year Navratri has come early in Ahmedabad. As India take on Pakistan today in the high-profile World Cup clash at Motera, the atmosphere all around is electrifying.
Cricket fans from across the world have converged in the Gujarat capital to be a part of the frenzy. The city airport is running full and so are the hotels, as celebrities, fans, VVIPs, performers– all are swooping down on the city to add to the jamboree mood.
Nearly 140 charter aircraft are scheduled to fly in and out of the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport in Ahmedabad from October 12-15, to bring in teams, VVIPs, business tycoons, Bollywood stars and cricket enthusiasts to the city. Celebrity musicians and performers including Arijit Singh, Shankar Mahadevan and Tamanna Bhatia, among others will perform for the crowds. And after two back-to-back wins, India is riding on top form, which has added to the excitement.
Several housing societies, pubs, clubs, hotels and restaurants have set up large screens to show the match for those who have not been lucky enough to get the tickets.
The Narendra Modi stadium will open its gates at 10am on Saturday. Though getting tickets was a struggle, fans have paid exorbitant prices to watch what is expected to be a thrilling match.
A cricket fan from Kolkata said he managed to get a ticket at the last minute, having paid six times the price.
Strict security arrangements are in place for the high-octane match. At least 11,000 security personnel of various agencies including Gujarat Police, National Security Guards (NSG), Rapid Action Force (RAF) and home guards among others have been deployed in Ahmedabad and at Narendra Modi Stadium for the match.