Interesting facts about Wagah border flag ceremony
Every defence aspirant has a will to see the ceremony once as it feels amazing to watch it in real.
In this post, I will tell you about the about the ceremony and how to attend it in brief.
- Wagah is a village situated on the Grand Trunk Road between Amritsar of India and Lahore in Pakistan.
- Radcliffe Line which had been drawn during 1947, Split one country into two parts.
- Radcliffe Line passes through the village Wagah on the Indian side.
- The Wagah border is situated at a distance of 29 km. from Lahore (Pakistan) and 27 km. from Amritsar (India).
- The lowering of the flag ceremony at the Wagah border also known as “beating retreat” is a daily military practice that started in 1959.
- Security forces of India Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistan (Pakistan Rangers) have jointly performed this task.
- The drill is characterized by elaborate and rapid dancelike manoeuvres and raising legs as high as possible, which have been described as "colourful".
- The purpose of "Wagah Border Ceremony" is to formally close the border for the night and take-off the National Flag of both nations.
- The Flag Lowering Ceremony is done daily before sunset. However, this is an entertainment ceremony but displayed as patriotic performance every day.
- It is a symbol of the two countries’ rivalry, as well as brotherhood and cooperation between the two nations.
- The Wagah border opens without fanfare at 10 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. (depending on the time of year).
- The ceremony starts with a blustering parade by the soldiers from both sides and ends up in the perfectly coordinated lowering of the two nations' flags.
- At the time of the retreat, the border looks like a battleground, as the procession is conducted with zeal and heavy foot stomping by the soldiers.
- This form of marching where soldiers lift up their legs very high is known as “Goose Marching”.
- This procession continues for 45 minutes and is amazing to witness.
- The soldiers are specially appointed and trained for the performance. Apparently, they are even paid extra to maintain an impressive moustache or beard.
- The ceremony involves some rather amusing theatrics, which even takes place as the flags are lowered.
- The Wagah Border ceremony is finally concluded with a brisk handshake by soldiers from both sides.
- After the ceremony is over, the flags are carefully folded and carried away to be stored for the night.
How to attend the ceremony?
- The Beating Retreat Ceremony starts at 5:15 PM in summer and 4:15 PM in winter.
- As the sitting space is limited, it is on first come first serve basis try to reach the venue two hours beforehand.
- Anyone can attend the ceremony including civilians.
- You can take the pass from BSF Cantt which is free of cost but depends on availability.
- Jammers are installed near the ceremony area so no calling facility will be available.
- Don’t forget to have fun watching the brave soldier march gracefully!