Every evening of the year, just before sunset, a flag lowering ceremony takes place at the Wagah border between India and Pakistan. It is a daily military practice that the security forces of India and Pakistan have followed since 1959!
The Wagah border between India and Pakistan is just under an hour away by road from the city of Amritsar. A shared taxi will drop you there, wait, and bring you back to Amritsar with a very small amount of money. Of course Indian taxis, like all the Indian means of transport, can be over-packed, so I was forced to sit in an unusual place (watch the video in the end)!
The ceremony lasts for around 45 minutes in total. It starts with high patriotic spirits from both sides of the border. Compared to the vocal crowd quickly filling the Indian side of the stadium, the Pakistani side (close to the city of Lahore) was almost empty of spectators. The enthusiasm of the Indians is infectious. They all together yell ‘’Hindustan, Hindustan’’ waving their flags making an amazing atmosphere!
Then comes the marching with the impressive display of high-kicks and legwork. One by one, the soldiers from both sides march towards the gates, which are thrown open when they reach there, trying to be more outrageous than their counterparts. They salute each other and start lowering the flags.
The flags have to come down at exactly the same rate, of course, so both parties can keep face. Then, the huge iron gates slams shut, and the crowd roars. A trumpet sounds the end of the ceremony and the soldiers return with their country’s respective flag. The border between India and Pakistan is closed for another day!
p.s. don’t forget to hold your passport which allows you free access to the VIP section!
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