Agra: The Taj Mahal city Wednesday celebrated Independence Day with visible enthusiasm but events organised by political parties drew poor crowds.
Such passion and fervour had not been witnessed in Agra for many years, thanks to the cooling rain-bearing clouds.
All colleges and government buildings were decorated and lit up. Schools hoisted the national flag.
The day began with a race from Agra`s Eklavya Sports Stadium.
"After several years we had such lovely weather. Many of us will take a run on the Yamuna Expressway later in the day," said insurance agent Sudheir Gupta.
At the Taj, there was a big crowd waiting to get entry.
The 17th century monument to love has seen unprecedented rush since the Yamuna Expressway opened. With the Yamuna flowing in all glory, the Taj Mahal provided a breathtaking spectacle.
NCC cadets in colleges joined parades in smart outfits. Fashion institute students went around the city on motorcycles to demonstrate their patriotic fervour.
At St Peter`s College, eminent homeopath R.S. Pareek hoisted the tricolour while the students gave powerful musical drama presentations.
The Indian flag fluttered on buildings and vehicles as loudspeakers blared patriotic film songs.
A media house organised "Ma Tujhe Salaam" to promote the singing of the national anthem.
People were persuaded to halt for 52 seconds wherever they were at 10 a.m. at the hooting of the siren -- to sing the anthem.
Senior Superintendent of Police Sunil Vajpayee hoisted the national flag at the police lines.
Said Surendra Sharma, 65: "A vibrant democracy poised for take-off while neighbouring countries are struggling is enough cause for celebration."
Amit Agarwal, an IT professional, said the young generation knows the value of freedom. "Surely the mood is upbeat, the celebrations are in top gear."
However, rallies organised by political parties did not attract people, witnesses said.