Thursday, 13 December 2012

Retreat Ceremony at Wagah Border Amritsar Pic Tour

My cousin from Mumbai and her two girl pals visited me last week. As every tourist coming to Amritsar for the 1st time would want, the girls were keen on going to the Wagah Border.


A lil intro to Wagah Border:

Wagah is the only road border crossing between Pakistan and India, and lies on the Grand Trunk Road between the cities ofAmritsar, Punjab, India and Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. Wagah, named Wagha in Pakistan, is a village through which the controversial Radcliffe Line, the boundary demarcation line dividing India and Pakistan upon the Partition of India, was drawn. The village was divided by independence in 1947. Today, the eastern half of the village remains in the Republic of India while the western half is in Pakistan.



The Wagah border closing 'lowering of the flags' ceremony is a daily military practice that the security forces of India (Border Security Force) and Pakistan (Pakistan Rangers) have jointly followed since 1959. This ceremony takes place every evening before sunset at the Wagah border, which as part of the Grand Trunk Road was the only road link between these two countries before the opening of the Aman Setu in Kashmir in 1999. The ceremony starts with a blustering parade by the soldiers from both the sides, and ends up in the perfectly coordinated lowering of the two nations' flags. It is called the beating retreat border ceremony on the international level. One infantryman (Jawan) stands at attention on each side of the gate. As the sun sets, the iron gates at the border are opened and the two flags are lowered simultaneously. The flags are folded and the ceremony ends with a retreat that involves a brusque handshake between soldiers from either side, followed by the closing of the gates again. The spectacle of the ceremony attracts many visitors from both sides of the border, as well as international tourists.

In October 2010, Major General Yaqub Ali Khan of the Pakistan Rangers decided that the aggressive aspect of the ceremonial theatrics should be toned down.

The ceremony has been filmed and broadcast by Michael Palin for one of his television around-the-world travel programs; he described it as a display of "carefully choreographed contempt.


(Taken from Wikipedia)




We were alloted V.I.P seats but we reached late by a couple of minutes, hence missing all the dose of patriotism which takes place before the actual ceremony starts.

There are people waving a massive Tricolor, patriotic songs blasting through the speakers and people dancing on them irrespective of age and gender.

Credit: google images

Credit: google images

The soldiers who are the part of the retreat ceremony...

   


Onwards we march...

  


Opening of the gates...

 


Just how high their feet rise :o
 


Position for the lowering of the flag taken...

   

Mhd. Ali Jinnah looking over from the Pakistani side...
  

Loving the turban...

                   

 Closing the gate after the flag has been taken down...


The commanding officer congratulating his sub-ordinates on the successful completion of the ceremony...



 The guardians of the gate...


My daughter atop one of the guardian horses...


Pakistan Rangers on their horses...


Unfortunately I couldn't take pictures of the actual flag lowering because I was recording a video with the intentions of uploading it here...but as luick would have it, there is no voice so it looked pretty dull :(

The whole ceremony lasts for a total of 20 mins and is always a goose bump creating experience. The loud patriotic songs, people shouting 'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat Mata Ki..Jai' gives momentary adrenaline rush, making you proud what all the sacrifices made by various people to since British rule, to give our country freedom and integrity...

Hope you enjoyed these pictures :)