High on Spirits: Attari-Wagah Border

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If you want a high dose of patriotism, do watch the beating retreat ceremony that takes place each and every day at Wagah Border.

For those who have no clue what I am talking about, here is a little background.

As obvious as it sounds, Wagah Border is a frontier between the countries India and Pakistan. Wagah is a small village which is situated a few kilometers away from the border in Pakistan. Also, in India, it is known as Attari Border. Attari is a village situated in India. Both Attari and Wagah are almost equidistant from the border.

The ceremony has been taking place every day since 1959. The ceremony starts with a parade by the soldiers from both the sides which eventually leads to lower their respective National Flags. This is known as Beating Retreat Ceremony which takes place on an international level.

I had always known about this ceremony but never even saw it on television (it is not broadcast every single day) but witnessing the ceremony in person was beyond anything I had ever experienced. It was simply stupefying. We were lucky to have VIP passes so we were near the iron gates and could watch the ceremony almost without any hindrance, almost.

It was such an amazing view, watching so many people sitting in the stands, some even got their faces painted with the tricolor, shouting, hooting and clapping.

At first, people in the stands were invited to hold the national flag and run to the gates and come back. Afterwards, they also played various patriotic songs and people of all ages were dancing to the music and enjoying to the fullest.

After quite a few rounds of shouting slogans from both the sides, the ceremony started.

It was lovely seeing not only Indians but even tourists dancing to Hindi songs and their faces painted with tricolor.

Some Tips

If you do not have VIP passes, make sure to reach early so that you are able to grab a seat. Otherwise you’d be standing or not even be allowed to enter if the place is full.

You’re not allowed to take any sort of bags inside the premises, wallets are an exception though. They’re V ERY strict about it. Not even camera bags or diaper bags are allowed. Yes, you can take your cameras and cell phones inside and click as many pictures as you want, even with the soldiers.

Be aware of pickpockets. Apart from security reasons, this is another reason bags are not allowed in the premises.

You will have to go through at least three rounds of security checks. After all, it’s a crucial border and no chances are to be taken. Being checked again and again can be bit of a bear but it is for your own safety.

Also, you can buy key chains and other souvenirs from the stalls. Spending a small amount of just ten bucks for the betterment of the force (which keeps you and your country safe) can’t harm anybody.

Lastly, just enjoy the ceremony and take the view in with every breath you take.

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