Residents of a tiny Indian village flocked to a Hindu temple, setting off firecrackers and praying as they watched Kamala Harris, who has strong roots to the village, take her oath of office and become the US vice president.
Groups of women in bright saris and men wearing white dhoti trousers watched the inauguration live as reporters broadcast the villager’s celebrations to millions of Indians.
The villagers chanted “Long live Kamala Harris” while holding portraits of her and blasted off fireworks the moment she took the oath.
Earlier, the villages adorned their temple with flowers, offering special prayers for Ms Harris’s success.
Her maternal grandfather was born in the village of Thulasendrapuram, about 215 miles from the southern coastal city of Chennai
“We are feeling very proud that an Indian is being elected as the vice president of America,” said teacher Anukampa Madhavasimhan.
At the prayer ceremony in Thulasendrapuram, the idol of Hindu deity Ayyanar, a form of Lord Shiva, was washed with milk and decked with flowers by a priest.
Then the village reverberated with the sound firecrackers as people held up posters of Ms Harris and clapped their hands.
Ms Harris made history on Wednesday as the first woman to become vice president, as well as the first black person and the first person of South Asian descent to serve in the role, and what made her special for the village is her Indian heritage.
Ms Harris’s grandfather was born more than 100 years ago.
Many decades later, he moved to Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state.
Ms Harris’s late mother was also born in India, before moving to the US to study at the University of California. She married a Jamaican man, and they named their daughter Kamala, a Sanskrit word for “lotus flower”.
In several speeches, Ms Harris has often spoken about her roots and how she was guided by the values of her Indian-born grandfather and mother.
So when Joe Biden and Ms Harris triumphed in the US election last November, Thulasendrapuram became the centre of attention in entire India.
Local politicians flocked to the village and young children carrying placards with photos of Ms Harris ran along the roads.
Then and now, villagers set off firecrackers and distributed sweets and flowers as a religious offering.
Posters and banners of Ms Harris from November still adorn walls in the village and many hope she ascends to the presidency in 2024.
Mr Biden has skirted questions about whether he will seek reelection or retire.
“For the next four years, if she supports India, she will be the president,” said G Manikandan, who has followed Ms Harris politically and whose shop proudly displays a wall calendar with pictures of Mr Biden and Ms Harris.
On Tuesday, an organisation that promotes vegetarianism sent food packets for the village children as gifts to celebrate Ms Harris’s success.