The international border between India and Pakistan. The pomp and pageantry of the Beating Retreat and the Change of Guard within handshaking distance of the Indian and Pakistani forces makes for a most charming spectacle. Wagah, an army outpost on Indo-Pak border – between Amritsar and Lahore, is an elaborate complex of buildings, roads and barriers on both sides. The daily highlight is the evening “Beating the Retreat” ceremony. Soldiers from both countries march in perfect drill, going through the steps of bringing down their respective national flags. As the sun goes down, nationalistic fervour rises and lights are switched on marking the end of the day amidst thunderous applause.
re planning to book your hotels in Amritsar for a holiday trip, keep aside a day to visit the Wagah Border and witness the ceremony.
Want to know more about this top historical place in Amritsar? Here is everything you should know, such as the history, timings, details of the ceremony, and other interesting facts about the Wagah Border.
Wagah Border Information:
|Distance from Amritsar||32 km|
|Key Attraction||Wagah-Attari Border Ceremony or Beating Retreat Ceremony|
|Ceremony Timings||4:15 pm to 5:00 pm (winter); 5:15 pm to 6:00 pm (summer)|
|Ceremony Type||Military practice|
|Entry Fee||Free (seats are allocated on first-come-first-serve basis)|
|Year of Establishment (ceremony)||1959|
|Ceremony Conducted by||The Indian Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers|
|Locker Charges||₹ 50|
|Others:||You are not permitted to carry bags to the site where the ceremony happens|
|Mobile networks are not available due to jammers in the border area.|
Wagah Border: History
Located about 32 km from Amritsar, Wagah is a village in Pakistan located on the historic Grand Trunk Road that passes between Amritsar and Lahore. The Radcliffe Line or the boundary line dividing India and Pakistan was drawn here, on the Indian side of the village, during the partition of India. This border crossing draws its name from the village where it is located and hence is called Wagah Border. At the time of partition, migrants used this border crossing to travel to Pakistan from India.
Since 1959, both the countries have been conducting the lowering of the flags ceremony here as a daily ritual. In August 2017, India had erected a 110 meter flagpole in Attari, the Indian side of the Wagah Border. In reply, Pakistan came up with a 122 meter flagpole on their side. The flagpole on the Indian side is the highest one in the country while the one on Pakistan’s side is considered to be the tallest one in South Asia.
Wagah Border Ceremony
The Wagah-Attari Border Ceremony or the lowering of the flags ceremony takes place at the border gate between Pakistan and India. This military practice, observed every day since 1959, takes place two hours before the sunset. Conducted by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) and the Pakistan Rangers, the ceremony attracts tourists from across the country, making the Wagah Border one of the top places to visit in Amritsar.
The ceremony is a 30-minutes drill, the purpose of which is to lower the national flags and formally close the border between the two nations till sunrise. It starts with an elaborate parade conducted by soldiers on both sides of the border. Then, the opening of the iron gates at the border and the lowering of the national flags on both sides take place in perfectly coordinated movements. After the flags are folded, soldiers from both the sides shake hands and the iron gates are closed, marking the end of the ceremony.
The Wagah-Attari Border Ceremony is also known as Beating Retreat Ceremony, which is a symbol of cooperation and brotherhood between the two countries.
Wagah Border: Today
A visit to the Wagah Border ranks among the top things to do in Amritsar. Every evening, a large number of tourists gather here to witness this ceremony. For these people, it is not a mere border ceremony but a display of national pride. Such is the fervor that visitors often sing the national anthem and break into impromptu dances before the ceremony begins.
The site where the ceremony happens is constructed like a stadium and has seating arrangements for visitors. The women guards of India’s Border Security Force have been part of the ceremony since 2011.
Located at a distance of 22 km from Lahore, Pakistan and 28 km from Amritsar in India, the Wagah Border marks the boundaries between Indian and Pakistani borders, running along the Grand Trunk Road. The Wagah Border Ceremony or the Beating Retreat Ceremony, held every day, is the prime attraction. Every evening, just before sunset, the soldiers from the Indian and Pakistan military meet at this border post to engage in a 30-minute display of military camaraderie and showmanship.
This ceremony includes the closing of the international gates and lowering the flags of both countries. The flag ceremony has been conducted by the Indian Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers since 1959.
People also partake in entertainment as a display of national pride for the thousands of people who come here every day. During the build-up to the ceremony, the crowd engages in chanting the Indian national anthem, rounds of applause and Bollywood-style dancing on Hindi songs.
How to Reach:
Sri Guru Ramdass International airport nearest airport from Wagah Border and distance from airport is 36 kilometers.
Attari Railway Station nearest railway station from Wagah Border and distance from station is 6 kilometers
Bus Stand Amritsar nearest bus-stop from Wagah Border and distance from bus-stop is 32 kilometers