Amritsar surprises you with a great miscellany of buildings, traditional and modern ones, concentrating in the old city and new city. Surprisingly, they are marked by the railway lines on the southeast and north, where the former encompasses historical structures and bazaars and the latter embraces the colonial-era boulevards, large shopping malls, and upscale restaurants and hotels.
We had our next visit scheduled to Wagah Border, which is quite far away from Tarn Taran. Our cab took one hour and forty minutes to travel us to the place located on the international highway. We were exactly on time for the Wagah Border Ceremony, which was scheduled at five.
My mind raced back to those pages of history I have read about the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, which was marked by a long white line popularly called Wagah Border. I could see two large gates fixed approximately two meters apart each other. This place is considered to be the official crossing by two nations.
Indian Side of Wagah Border | Image Resource: ifeverythinghadaword
Interestingly, the Wagah Border Ceremony is the closing ceremony held at the border by lowering of the flags before the sunset. This ceremony is also called the “Lowering of the flags” or “Beating the Retreat” ceremony. A military practice conducted daily by the Border Security Force of India and Pakistan Rangers since 1959, this ceremony takes place in the evening between 4.30 and 5.30 based on the season.
We were quite anxious to witness and be part of the ceremonial occasion and could feel the nationalist zeal within once the show started. When the patriotic song started playing, we respectfully stood singing along with it. Once the songs of both countries were played, next the brave soldiers who have sacrificed their lives were remembered.
Parade at Wagah Border, Amritsar | Image Resource: indiamarks.com
There was also a marching parade by soldiers, which took place for some time. Then, the gates were suddenly opened and the soldier standing at each gate walked up and looked at each other, exchanged words and shook hands with each other. Once this was done, the flags of both nations fixed on the poles were lowered and folded and taken back.
Before the gates were closed, the soldiers from both the nations shook hands again and the trumpet was blown to mark the end of the ceremony, which was quite spectacular. It was getting dark and we had to go back and plan for the following day.