Watching the majestically flowing Ganga, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden walked on the famous Ram Jhula (suspension bridge) in Rishikesh on Thursday. The royal couple performed Ganga puja and interacted with local youths on day one of their tour to Uttarakhand. After Rishikesh the King and Queen headed for Haridwar where they inaugurated a 14 MLD (million litres per day) capacity sewerage treatment plant.

State minister for higher education Dhan Singh Rawat welcome the Swedish King and Queen at the Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun on Thursday. The royal couple walked on the 230 Mts long Ram Jhula to enjoy the beauty of Rishikesh, holy Ganga and get a glimpse of the religious fervour of the pilgrimage centre. Environmentalist Sunita Narain, Director General of Centre for Science and Environment, gave a short briefing about the state of the river of Ganga to the guests.

Welcoming the royal Swedish couple, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said, “The spiritual environment of divine Uttarakhand will help visiting dignitaries experience India in a refreshingly different manner.”

Walking the Ram Jhula, the King and Queen reached the Naw Ghat where they performed Gaga Puja. Divya Vigraha performed the ritual and explained the importance of the custom. The royal couple also interacted some local youths during their short visit in Rishikesh. King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia inaugurated a sewerage treatment plant, in the presence of Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and state tourism minister Satpal Maharaj, in Haridwar. The Sarai sewage treatment plant has been constructed, under the Namami Gange project, to ensure that no untreated domestic sewage flows into the river Ganga.

King Carl XVI Gustaf said, “India is a land of many possibilities. I compliment the government for their efforts being made for the conservation and enhancement of river Ganga and wish the Namami Gange project all the success.”

After waiting for a brief period at Paniyali forest guest house near Kotdwar, the royal couple headed for Dhela forest guest house of Corbett Tiger Reserve. King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia will tour the famous Corbett park on Friday.