Wagah Border Ceremony – an event you shouldn’t miss while visiting Amritsar!
India is a land of linguistic, cultural and natural diversities. Hence, when one is planning to take a break from the mundane, they often choose to take a trip to the unknown or the famous! In this context, if taking a trip to an offbeat destination is something one finds interesting, then one can choose to visit the Wagah-Attari Border.
The Wagah-Attari border is the geographical boundary that separates India and its rival nation, Pakistan. It is considered by one and all as the perfect weekend destination whenever they feel to reignite the sense of patriotism in their mind.
The USP of the Wagah-Attari border is that every day, it becomes point zero of a special military showdown that renders anyone and everyone spellbound. This special military showdown is so popular that people from every corner of India (and the globe) flock to the Wagah-Attari border in a bid to experience the event from the first-person perspective.
Bloggers and journalists have often praised the sense of sincere patriotism that the military personnel on both sides of the border show while performing during the daily event.
So, if the person reading this piece is planning to take a trip to Amritsar or just the Wagah-Attari border then they should refer to the sections below. The following account summarizes everything one would need to make their trip to the Wagah-Attari border a walk-in-the-park!
A bit of history about the Wagah border
The Wagah Border Ceremony, internationally known as the ‘Beating Retreat Ceremony’ has been taking place regularly since 1959. It was a ceremony that was greenlit by the then Indian and Pakistani governments.
The goal of this ceremony is to strengthen and showcase the rivalry, patriotism and strong sense of brotherhood between India and Pakistan. When it all began, the level of aggression and anger was apparent between soldiers partaking in the Beating Retreat. That negative aspect of the ceremony has cooled down over the decades. However, the strong sense of brotherhood and patriotism still remains intact. In this context, it is best to note that since the July of 2011, women BSF personnel have also been part of this Beating Retreat.
The details of the event
As soon as the sun sets below the horizon, the gates on both sides of the border are opened which marks the beginning of the adrenaline-fuelled parade where soldiers from both sides participate in. The massive gates on each side of the border have “Swarn Jayanti Dwar” inscribed on them.
A soldier will stand attentively on each side of the border while the national flags of India and Pakistan are lowered in a coordinated fashion. Then the flags are folded simultaneously.
The ceremony ends with a retreating parade. The parade is known for its rapid and elaborate dance-like manoeuvres. The soldiers partaking in this parade are specially trained individuals who can raise their legs as high as humanly possible.
After that, the soldiers of both sides would shake their rival’s hand vigorously. Following this, the gates on both sides are closed marking the end of the 45-minute-long event.
[Note – One can enjoy a panoramic view of the Wagah border if they climb on top of the gate on the Indian side.]
Wagah border flag ceremony timing
The timings of this ceremony are as follows:
- During the summer season, the parade will commence at 5:15 PM.
- During the winter season, the parade will commence at 4:15 PM.
In both cases, the ceremony will last no more than 45 minutes!
What will it cost for the average individual to enter the venue?
Not a single penny!
Entry to the venue of the Wagah Border Ceremony is absolutely free for one and all. The money one will be spending is during their commute to the border. Details about the travelling expenses are mentioned in the section below.
How to reach Wagah border?
Reaching the Wagah-Attari Border is pretty easy. All one would need to do is reach the holy city of Amritsar first.
One can reach Amritsar by road, by air or by aeroplane. If one takes a flight then they would deplane at Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport. The best part is that the airport is a mere 11 KMs away from Amritsar. Taxis ply frequently between the airport and Amritsar hence a commute from the airport to the hotel will be easy.
On the other hand, if one is willing to take a trip to Amritsar via train then they will disembark at the railway junction in Amritsar. A road trip to Amritsar is also a great way to ease one’s tired mind. The city of Amritsar is well-connected to the rest of India by road.
To reach the Wagah-Attari border, one can either hire a cab or share one with like-minded travellers. The cabs are available from the gate of the Golden Temple. The ride will take a little more than an hour to complete as the distance between the Golden Temple and the Wagah-Attari border is (+-) 35 KMs. The approximate fare for the cab ride will be in the range of INR 100 to 120 (one-way ride).
A few tips to remember while visiting the Wagah border
- One has to remember that the entire airspace over and around the Wagah-Attari border is restricted. It means that the area is riddled with signal jammers in a bid to cap mobile communications. Hence, one must inform their loved ones before they head over to the venue.
- The entry point will be chocked most of the time. Hence, one would have to be patient.
- There are proper seating arrangements in place within the amphitheatre. No reservations are available here. Although, some seats are reserved for women.
- In case the person reading this post is a foreign national then they need not worry. The amphitheatre has separate stands for foreign nationals. These stands are located just behind the VIP section. There is a catch though – one would have to carry their passport with them if they want to secure a seat in the foreign national seating section.
- One can take their cameras with them. However, one cannot carry with them any handbags. If they have some form of luggage with them, they can keep them at the entrance in lockers available at a nominal charge of INR 50.
- In case one feels hungry or thirsty then they need not worry as food stalls are located in proximity to the entrance of the amphitheatre. One can get snacks as well as bottled water in the aforementioned stalls.