Forget Downing Street, Boris Johnson could well set his sights on Buckingham Palace as bemused Indian locals mistook him for the King of England on the opening day of his tour of the country.

Others thought he was Wimbledon legend Boris Becker as he toured the Akshardhan temple in Delhi while one American businessman who had his photo taken with the mayor at his hotel just referred to him as "that guy on the zip line" - a reference to when Boris got stuck as he traversed Victoria Park during the Olympics.

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Boris Johnson is chased by street vendors at India Gate in New Delhi

Today, Johnson began his six-day tour in typical whirlwind fashion as he was greeted by monks with a garland of rose petals and the traditional kanku - the red dot on which was daubed on his forehead.

While there has been widespread publicity in the local media about his visit, not everyone was sure who he was.

Akash Bharadia, 18, is spending his gap year volunteering at the temple.

He said: "One of the locals shouted out it was Boris Becker while some people asked whether he was the King of England.
"They know it's Boris, that's the main thing."

Bharadia said he thought the London mayor was better known in India than Prime Minister David Cameron, adding that Johnson had been given the welcome of a visiting head of state as he was shown in to the inner sanctum of relics from Bhagwan Swaminarayan, believed by Hindus to be God's incarnation on earth.

He added: "I have never seen someone allowed in there before. It's only usually VVIPs such as the Queen."

After visiting the main temple, he was then taken on a log flume ride where guests heard a narration of the history of India before nearly missing a round of interviews after over-zealous officials sat him down for a 45-minute film on Hinduism.

It was not the first minor hiccup of the trip.

Johnson's worried aides feared they had lost him even before the plane had left Heathrow only to find he had been whisked by British Airways staff in to a first-class lounge at Terminal 5 while they were left with the airline's business-class offering.

After this afternoon's temple visit, it was on to India Gate in Delhi, where crowds gathered with Johnson to have their picture taken, some even trying to cram in for pictures as he conducted live interviews with broadcasters.

Indian security staff were also deployed to stop street children trying to sell the mayor jewellery and other trinkets.

Rajeev Tyagi, a photographer for the Mumbai newspaper Midday, said that outside of the country's media industry, most Indians did not know who Johnson actually was.

He said: "The mayor is seen as a very jolly man who rides a bicycle. He is very charismatic. I would say he is better known than the Prime Minister (David Cameron)."

Johnson will tonight head to see the British High Commissioner in Delhi before a series of meetings tomorrow aimed at improving links between the India's burgeoning middle-class and universities in the UK.

He will hold 16 meetings in five days.

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  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 2

    London Mayor Boris Johnson is mobbed by school children in Delhi today after he handed over the London 2012 Olympic cauldron petals to Indian Olympians. The petals which were part of the Thomas Heatherwick designed cauldron which burnt throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be given to every competing nation.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 2

    London Mayor Boris Johnson is mobbed by school children in Delhi today after he handed over the London 2012 Olympic cauldron petals to Indian Olympians. The petals which were part of the Thomas Heatherwick designed cauldron which burnt throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be given to every competing nation.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 2

    London Mayor Boris Johnson plays cricket with school children in Delhi after he handed over the London 2012 Olympic cauldron petals to Indian Olympians. The petals which were part of the Thomas Heatherwick designed cauldron which burnt throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be given to every competing nation.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 2

    London Mayor Boris Johnson hands over two London 2012 Olympic cauldron petals to Indian Olympians in Delhi . The petals which were part of the Thomas Heatherwick designed cauldron which burnt throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be given to every competeing nation. .

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 2

    London Mayor Boris Johnson plays cricket with school children in Delhi after he handed over the London 2012 Olympic cauldron petals to Indian Olympians. The petals which were part of the Thomas Heatherwick designed cauldron which burnt throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be given to every competing nation.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 2

    London Mayor Boris Johnson is mobbed by school children in Delhi today after he handed over the London 2012 Olympic cauldron petals to Indian Olympians. The petals which were part of the Thomas Heatherwick designed cauldron which burnt throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be given to every competing nation.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 2

    London Mayor Boris Johnson is mobbed by school children in Delhi today after he handed over the London 2012 Olympic cauldron petals to Indian Olympians. The petals which were part of the Thomas Heatherwick designed cauldron which burnt throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be given to every competing nation.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 2

    London Mayor Boris Johnson is mobbed by school children in Delhi today after he handed over the London 2012 Olympic cauldron petals to Indian Olympians. The petals which were part of the Thomas Heatherwick designed cauldron which burnt throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be given to every competing nation.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 2

    London Mayor Boris Johnson is mobbed by school children in Delhi today after he handed over the London 2012 Olympic cauldron petals to Indian Olympians. The petals which were part of the Thomas Heatherwick designed cauldron which burnt throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be given to every competing nation.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 2

    London Mayor Boris Johnson plays cricket with school children in Delhi after he handed over the London 2012 Olympic cauldron petals to Indian Olympians. The petals which were part of the Thomas Heatherwick designed cauldron which burnt throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be given to every competing nation.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 2

    London Mayor Boris Johnson at the British High Commission in Delhi after he handed over the London 2012 Olympic cauldron petals to Indian Olympians. The petals which were part of the Thomas Heatherwick designed cauldron which burnt throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be given to every competing nation.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 1

    London Mayor Boris Johnson visits the Akshardham Temple in New Delhi, a sister temple to the Neasden Temple in North West London, on the first of a six-day tour of India, where he will be trying to persuade Indian businesses to invest in London.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 1

    London Mayor Boris Johnson is chased by street vendors at India Gate in New Delhi, on the first of a six-day tour of India, where he will be trying to persuade Indian businesses to invest in London.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 1

    London Mayor Boris Johnson is chased by street vendors at India Gate in New Delhi, on the first of a six-day tour of India, where he will be trying to persuade Indian businesses to invest in London.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 1

    London Mayor Boris Johnson meets visitors at India Gate in New Delhi, on the first of a six-day tour of India, where he will be trying to persuade Indian businesses to invest in London.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 1

    London Mayor Boris Johnson meets visitors at India Gate in New Delhi, on the first of a six-day tour of India, where he will be trying to persuade Indian businesses to invest in London.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 1

    London Mayor Boris Johnson is chased by street vendors at India Gate in New Delhi, on the first of a six-day tour of India, where he will be trying to persuade Indian businesses to invest in London.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 1

    London Mayor Boris Johnson is chased by street vendors at India Gate in New Delhi, on the first of a six-day tour of India, where he will be trying to persuade Indian businesses to invest in London.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 1

    London Mayor Boris Johnson meets visitors at India Gate in New Delhi, on the first of a six-day tour of India, where he will be trying to persuade Indian businesses to invest in London.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 1

    London Mayor Boris Johnson meets visitors at India Gate in New Delhi, on the first of a six-day tour of India, where he will be trying to persuade Indian businesses to invest in London.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 1

    London Mayor Boris Johnson visits the Akshardham Temple in New Delhi, a sister temple to the Neasden Temple in North West London, on the first of a six-day tour of India, where he will be trying to persuade Indian businesses to invest in London.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 1

    London Mayor Boris Johnson makes a phone call at India Gate in New Delhi, on the first of a six-day tour of India, where he will be trying to persuade Indian businesses to invest in London.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 1

    London Mayor Boris Johnson meets visitors at India Gate in New Delhi, on the first of a six-day tour of India, where he will be trying to persuade Indian businesses to invest in London.

  • Boris Johnson visits India - Day 1

    London Mayor Boris Johnson meets visitors at India Gate in New Delhi, on the first of a six-day tour of India, where he will be trying to persuade Indian businesses to invest in London.