This shout for demanding alertness is not the only attention grabbing thing at the prestigious and historic Wagah Border Parade Ceremony. In recent times, the flag lowering ceremony has become a great source of traditional entertainment. The ceremony is also called the Beating Retreat Ceremony and has been described in many different ways ranging from ‘Colorful!’ to ‘Ugly!’ The most apt and condensed description would be ‘carefully choreographed contempt’ as stated by Michael Palin.
At a distance of 24km from Punjab’s capital, Lahore, this border lies between the neighboring villages of Wagah (Pakistan) and Attari (India) on the Radcliffe Line. The border is the most important crossing between India and Pakistan. Each of these sides have their own decorated gates as well as a stand for spectators to watch the ceremony every dusk. The parade has its high entertainment value as the hostility breeds competition between the two neighboring countries. This competitiveness can be seen during the ceremony, when the Pakistani soldiers dressed in Black Shalwar Kameez face off against the Khaki-clad Indian soldiers. Their magnificent turbans add to their decorated attires and their fierce moustaches and well-groomed facial hairstyles also add to their striking image.
The ceremony itself is highly synchronized, with shouts from the guards and loud, alarming stomps from the soldiers as they proceed to lower the flags. The crowds from each country cheer and support their soldiers with shouts of ‘Pakistan Zindabad!’ and ‘Jai Hind!’ making the atmosphere like that of a sports event. The ceremony is held every day and hundreds of people come to watch it. The crowd increases to an even larger number on days of historic importance, such as 14th August. Watching the ceremony instills patriotism into you and the atmosphere induces emotions to run high and wild though the course of the whole ceremony. Many times, the gestures of loud declaration of love for their country shown by the soldiers, results in tears in the eyes of the crowd. This is why the Wagah Border Ceremony is called the best Flag Lowering Border ceremony in the world.
On 2 November, 2014 a very cowardly attack was made on Wagah Border when a suicide bomber blasted himself on the Pakistan side of the border. This attack was carried out by the terrorist to demoralize the people Pakistan. Although in respect of the deceased and the injured, India suspended the daily ceremony for three days, the brave Pakistanis showed up in a great number the very next day to see the parade being performed and send a message that the people of Pakistan were not easily scared and would fight till the last breath. This parade holds a whole different sentimental value following the attack and efforts have been made to further increase the already tight security at Wagah border.
Due to its high entertainment value, restaurants have been opened nearby to make a whole trip out of the visit to Wagah Border. It has become a great tourist attraction and should definitely be on the bucket list of all the people who travel to Lahore. It is a one of a kind experience that reflects a lot on the relationship between Pakistan and India, making it an artistic and enlightening experience overall!
Book a tour with Tripkar to enjoy and revel the flag lowering ceremony held in Lahore Pakistan!