Experiencing the Beating Retreat Ceremony at Wagah Border
A tradition that’s been alive since 61 years. That’s what experiencing the Beating Retreat Ceremony at the Wagah Border is all about. Believed to be “The symbol of rivalry and brotherhood”, the ceremony involves India’s Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers. So why should you be experiencing the Bearing Retreat Ceremony at Wagah Border? Here’s what you should know!
When and where does it occur?
The event takes place at the India-Pakistan border which is famously known as the Wagah-Attari border. This ceremony is something that takes place everyday for 45 minutes. To experience the Wagah Border Ceremony (same thing, different name), you first have to get to Amritsar as it’s the closest place (about 27kms). The ceremony starts every evening at 4:15 pm (winter) or 4:45 pm (summer), right before the sun is ready to set.
What happens at the Beating Retreat Ceremony?
Honestly, this is like a patriotic and a military version of a dance-off or a rap face off. In the beginning, you witness an Indian & a Pakistani soldier perform “Goose Marching”. This is essentially a very energetic style of marching where you lift your legs up really high then stomp it down. You get to see both the soldiers get in each other’s faces, trying to intimidate the other person while putting up a passion filled performance of patriotism.
During this event, there’s a lot of chanting and cheering that goes on through loudspeakers. It’s like two sets of sports fans cheering for their teams. We find the whole event really cool because of how well it seems to be coordinated and choreographed. After a certain point, you’ll see one more soldier joining in from both the sides. There’s a supremely animated and energetic display of marching also for visitors to experience.
In fact, there are even Bollywood songs played during the ceremony. Eventually, soldiers representing both the countries lower the hoisted flags, fold it and carry them away. It’s really fascinating considering you’re witnessing it all from a stadium. Yup, you read that right. There’s a stadium from where visitors get to experience this cool ceremony of closing the border for the night. Keep a few things in mind before visiting for the ceremony.
How to attend the Beating Retreat Ceremony at Wagah Border?
You can get buses or cabs from Amritsar to reach the border. Once you’re there, it’s all first come first serve basis. They are very strict in this regard so if all the seats are full, you will definitely not get to enter the stadium. The good thing is that there is no entrance fee. Best way to make sure you don’t miss out on the experience is arriving 2 hours before the ceremony begins. Purely because there will be a long queue of people waiting to enter.
Make sure you carry your ID proof. This applies to both Indian Nationals and Foreigners. If you don’t get it, you won’t be allowed to enter. Don’t expect your cellphones to get network here as cell jammers are installed. There’s also a separate area kept for foreign tourists. Snacks and beverages are also available there for the visitors.
At the end of the day, this is an interesting experience to have, regardless of whether you’re patriotic or not. It also gives you an interesting insight into a military tradition that focuses on cooperation. If you’re planning to visit Amritsar, you should definitely be experiencing the Beating Retreat Ceremony too.