One of the most popular attractions in Amritsar is the Wagah Ceremony. Since 1959, this ceremony held every evening and takes place at the India-Pakistan border. Wagah Ceremony is a unique military ritual where in the border security forces from Pakistan and India lower their flags.
I witnessed this unique ceremony when I visited Amritsar after spending a few weeks in Bagsu, Dharamsala. On the India side, everyone is allowed to witness the ceremony for free. This border is the only road crossing place for these countries and lies on the Grand Trunk Road between the cities of Amritsar, Punjab, India and Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. The gates are open at the time of the ceremony but no one is allowed to cross the border.
The ceremony is usually started by singing and dancing on the respective sides of the border. The locals fall in line to run or march while carrying the flag of India. You can really feel the nationalism of the crowd in the atmosphere.
I’ve got goose bump when a local disabled man march in the aisle carrying their flag. All of us in the crowd were shouting and clapping our hands to give honor to him. It was truly a spectacular moment.
The other highlights of the ceremony between the two was marching up to the gate and then performing a high kick.
During sun sets, the metal gates at the border are opened and the two flags are lowered simultaneously. The flags are folded and the ceremony ends with a retreat that involves a brusque handshake between soldiers from either side, followed by the closing of the gates again.
After the respective flags of each country is lowered. It was then folded and placed to their designated storage.
There’s news circulating that there will be a Wagah-like retreat ceremony in India – Bangladesh Border starting on October 2, 2013.