Prince Charles tests solar-powered tuk tuk in New Delhi5 min read

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The Prince of Wales joked with royal aides while he rode in a silent battery-powered rickshaw today as he kick-started his two-day visit to India. 

Charles, a prominent climate change campaigner, went for a spin in one of the famous three-wheeled vehicles during a visit to India’s equivalent of the Met Office in the capital New Delhi.

The heir to the UK throne asked his entourage, ‘are you going to run behind’ before taking the back seat where a cushion was placed. 

Charles was driven at a stately pace of a few miles an hour as he travelled around 50 metres. 

He also met India’s head of state in the capital New Delhi during a busy day of engagements which will see him mark the 550th anniversary of the birth of the founder of the Sikh religion.

In anticipation of the visit, Charles took the opportunity to post what appears to be his first personal Instagram post last night. 

In a message to Britain’s Sikh community, and others in the Commonwealth, he wrote: ‘The principles on which Guru Nanak founded the Sikh religion, and which guide your lives to this day, are ones which can inspire us all.’  

Charles took a ride in an electric rickshaw driven by Maria, who was trained by SMV Green as part of a project which trains female rickshaw drivers

Charles took a ride in an electric rickshaw driven by Maria, who was trained by SMV Green as part of a project which trains female rickshaw drivers

Charles is taking part in a discussion on how to strengthen disaster resilience and tackle the effects of climate change

Charles is taking part in a discussion on how to strengthen disaster resilience and tackle the effects of climate change

Earlier, he visited the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, a prominent Sikh house of worship, in New Delhi

Earlier, he visited the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, a prominent Sikh house of worship, in New Delhi

The Prince of Wales meets President Ram Nath Kovind at his official residence, Rashtrapati Bhavan

The Prince of Wales meets President Ram Nath Kovind at his official residence, Rashtrapati Bhavan

In a message to Britain’s Sikh community, and others in the Commonwealth, to mark the 550th anniversary of the birth of the religion’s founder, Charles wrote on Instagram: ‘As I depart for India, on my tenth official visit, I did just want to convey my warmest best wishes to all of you in the Sikh Community in the United Kingdom, and across the Commonwealth, on the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. 

‘The principles on which Guru Nanak founded the Sikh religion, and which guide your lives to this day, are ones which can inspire us all – hard work, fairness, respect, and selfless service to others. 

‘In embodying these values, Sikhs have made the most profound contribution to the life of this country, and continue to do so, in every imaginable field, just as you do in so many other places around the world. 

‘This week, as Sikhs everywhere honour the founder of your faith, my wife and I wanted you to know just how much your community is valued and admired by us all, and that our thoughts are with you at this very special time. HRH The Prince of Wales.’

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His comments are likely to be interpreted as further evidence of his reported desire to take the title defender of faith, rather than ‘the faith’ when he becomes king, to reflect multi-cultural Britain. 

Charles’ rickshaw driver, who only wanted to be known by her first name Maria, was not fazed by the passenger in the back of her cab.

The driver was a product of a programme, run by sustainable transport organisation SMV Green, which is training some of India’s first female rickshaw operators. 

The 24-year-old part-time student said: ‘I was very happy to drive the prince and I wasn’t nervous, it was great.’

The British High Commission in New Delhi said Charles’ 10th official visit to the country would ‘celebrate enduring British-Indian ties, with a focus on shared global challenges such as sustainability and climate change’. 

The heir to the UK throne joked with his entourage and said "are you going to run behind" before taking the back seat

The heir to the UK throne joked with his entourage and said ‘are you going to run behind’ before taking the back seat

Ahead of the visit Clarence House tweeted: "The principles on which Guru Nanak founded the Sikh religion, and which guide your lives to this day, are ones which can inspire us all'

Ahead of the visit Clarence House tweeted: ‘The principles on which Guru Nanak founded the Sikh religion, and which guide your lives to this day, are ones which can inspire us all’

Charles, a prominent climate change campaigner, at India's equivalent of the Met Office

Charles, a prominent climate change campaigner, at India’s equivalent of the Met Office

The prince will celebrate his 71st birthday on Thursday, and will be in Mumbai for a meeting about sustainability

The prince will celebrate his 71st birthday on Thursday, and will be in Mumbai for a meeting about sustainability

Charles penned a message to Britain's Sikh community, and others in the Commonwealth, on his Instagram account ahead of the visit

Charles penned a message to Britain’s Sikh community, and others in the Commonwealth, on his Instagram account ahead of the visit

Charles was welcomed into the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib on his busy first day

Charles was welcomed into the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib on his busy first day 

He had a discussion with Indian environmentalist Sunita Narain on his visit to the Indian Meteorological Department

He had a discussion with Indian environmentalist Sunita Narain on his visit to the Indian Meteorological Department

Charles is taking part in a discussion on how to strengthen disaster resilience and tackle the effects of climate change

Charles is taking part in a discussion on how to strengthen disaster resilience and tackle the effects of climate change

He will later attend a military service to commemorate the sacrifices of service personnel from India, the UK and across the Commonwealth in the two World Wars.

British High Commissioner to India Sir Dominic Asquith said of the prince: ‘His many visits to India and his enduring interest in promoting our common interests is another example of the living bridge between the United Kingdom and India.’

During the day Charles will also present a Commonwealth Points of Light award to an Indian woman for her exemplary contribution to the field of social development.

The prince will celebrate his 71st birthday on Thursday, and will be in Mumbai for a meeting about sustainability.

From Sunday, Charles will begin a tour of the South Pacific, lasting more than a week, and will spend the majority of his time in New Zealand with wife Camilla before making solo trips to the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.