The year was 1962. India had been independent for fifteen years. Prime Minister Jawaharial Nehru was still in office. Goa had just been ceded to India by the Portuguese.
Across the world in the United States, President John F. Kennedy had recently begun his second year in the White House. His 32-year-old wife, Jacqueline “Jackie” Kennedy, had become one of the most famous women in the world: a global icon, well-known for her fashion.
In March 1962, Mrs. Kennedy embarked on a goodwill tour of India and Pakistan. These photos show parts of her journey and provide a glimpse of 1960s India.
Jackie Kennedy landed in New Delhi on 12 March, 1962.
Mrs. Kennedy (in shadows) waited for the motorcade of Indian President Dr. Rajendra Prasad at Vijay Chowk on the day of her arrival in India.
A luncheon was held by President Dr. Rajendra Prasad in Mrs. Kennedy’s honor.
Later, a portrait was presented to Mrs. Kennedy.
She placed roses on the Raj Ghat to honor Mahatma Gandhi.
Mrs. Kennedy visited Jaipur where a welcome procession was held.
Mrs. Kennedy lived up to her reputation as a global fashion icon.
Here she arrives at a reception at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.
She attended a small fashion show at the Central Cottage Industries Emporium in New Delhi. The model shown is Kitty Galbraith, the U.S. Ambassador’s wife.
She talked to many different types of people in India.
Here she meets with veteran Rajput soldiers in Udaipur. One of them is holding an ancient sword.
She gave candy to children at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
Jacqueline Kennedy met with Indira Gandhi.
Mrs. Gandhi presented Mrs. Kennedy with paintings by Indian children.
Mrs. Kennedy allowed time for plenty of sightseeing.
Here she takes a boat ride on Lake Pichola in Udaipur, India.
Mrs. Kennedy attended a horse and cattle show in Pakistan.
She visited the Khyber Pass on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Mr. Nehru placed a bindi on Mrs. Kennedy’s forehead before she left.
President Kennedy greeted his wife when she arrived back in the United States on 29 March, 1962.
She looks like she is excitedly telling President Kennedy about the wonders she saw in India.
President Kennedy sent this letter to Prime Minister Nehru to thank India for its hospitality. It reads:
I want you to know how appreciative I am to you and the people of India for their warm and generous reception of my wife. I know how much this visit meant to her and I am personally most grateful. I hope you will thank those responsible for making her stay in India a pleasant one.
With every good wish.
John F. Kennedy