Wagah Border Flag Ceremony
Wagah Border Flag Ceremony or Beating Retreat Ceremony is a flag-lowering ceremony that takes place daily at the Attari-Wagah border which marks the boundaries between India and Pakistan. The security forces of India, Border Security Force (BSF), and Pakistan Rangers carry on the flag ceremony every day before sunset.
Attari-Wagah border is located at a distance of 28 km from Amritsar and 22km from Lahore and runs along the Grand Trunk Road between Amritsar and Lahore. The main purpose of the flag ceremony is to lower the national flag and close the border for the night.
The fertile Village of Wagah lies on the border which was split into two by the British partition in 1947, its eastern half lies in India while the Western half is in Pakistan. The Grand Trunk Road at Wagah-Attari border was once the only road link between India and Pakistan later in 1999 Aman Setu was opened in Kashmir.
Every sunset for the last 62 years the border is closed in the Wagah flag ceremony. This ceremony includes the lowering of flags and the closing of the international gates of both countries for the night. The flags of both countries tricolor of India and the green flag of Pakistan are strung up at the gates which are opened every morning and remain open throughout the day until they are shut at the end of the ceremony.
This is a high-toned ceremony where soldiers high-kick, stamp, speed march, and bawl their way through a choreographed routine. A perfectly coordinated and heavily choreographed flag-lowering ceremony with soldiers from both countries dressed at their best with elaborate turbans and shiny black boots. Indian soldiers wear green and khaki while Pakistan’s Rangers wear black and show their best patriotic performance every day. The procession is carried out with loud shouts and heavy foot-stomping from both sides, soldiers do “Goose Stepping” where soldier lifts their legs as high as possible.
A simple flag-lowering exercise on the road through their joint border has become a huge 45-minute parade. The display has become a huge tourist attraction, drawing thousands of spectators every evening. It is like a carnival atmosphere as 20,000 spectators from both countries flock to watch and dance and cheer “Pakistan Zindabad” (long live Pakistan) on the Pakistan side and “Jai Hind” (long live India) on Indian side.
Wagah Border Retreat Ceremony Timings
In Winters: 4:15 pm to 5:00 pm
In Summers: 5:15 pm to 6:00 pm
The Entry is free and is on a first come first serve basis so you need to arrive in advance to reserve nice seats for yourself. You can also book your seats in advance by going to BSF kent located in Khasa village. Due to restricted space inside the stadium, some people may be left out and have to watch the ceremony from outside via a screen. You are permitted to carry a camera and mobile but the mobile network is not available there due to the border area, you are not permitted to carry a bag so you may rent a locket there at Rs 50.
How to arrive at Wagah Border
Wagah Border is 28 km away from Amritsar, so after reaching Amritsar you can hire a taxi or take a bus.
By Taxi: Hiring a taxi is the most convenient and flexible option, but vehicles can’t go near the border so you have to walk for about 20 minutes from the parking spot.
By Bus: To reach the Wagah border by bus is the cheapest option, there are a lot of minivans and buses which run on the route.
Suggested Read: The Kashmir Problem