Flag retreat ceremony takes place daily at Wagah border, Amritsar before sunset. Wagah border divides India and Pakistan. Both the Indian and Pakistani border forces take part in the ceremony. Purpose of this ceremony is to lower the flags and close the border for the night. It attracts a huge crowd daily that fills the theatre with loud slogans of nationalism. A rush of patriotism pumps up the hearts of all spectators. You would feel proud to be an Indian while witnessing this ceremony. You can see the Pakistan forces, their soldiers and citizens on the other side of the gate.
At Wagah Border celebration of lowering the flag starts around 5:30 P.M. Since it becomes heavily crowded, it is advisable to reach at least one and a half hour before. You must reach at 4 P.M. if you want to enjoy the parade thoroughly by getting front rows. Before the beginning of the ceremony, the audience is called to dance to the tune of loud and enthusiastic patriotic songs. The event happens in an open-air theatre. It can get very hot in the summer days, so dress accordingly.
The parade is free of charge.
How to reach
Do not carry any bags or unnecessary stuff with you. There is no provision of cloakrooms, and you would be caught in unnecessary hassle. A separate queue is maintained for women on the Indian side. Females and males are seated separately. Wagah Border is approx 30 km away from Amritsar. You can take a private taxi that will cost around 700 INR and it will show you the border and a few other tourist spots. It is a preferred mode to reach there.
When the enthralling parade begins, everyone gets drenched in the natural sentiments of patriotism. Tall soldiers with massive turbans wearing khaki uniforms start marching towards the gate with high energy and passion. Pakistani soldiers, dressed in black uniform, march from their side towards the gate. The feet of the soldiers rise almost to their foreheads during the parade. Irrespective of 1000s of spectators, the theatre witnesses pin drop silence.
Flags of both countries are lowered with high respect. The eye-catching moment is when flags of both countries cross each other while lowering and creates an “X” symbol. Flags are then carefully folded and brought back by the soldiers.
What you will feel at Wagah Border, you will not feel it anywhere else in the country. The ambience is captivating, energetic and patriotic. Most important is that it is of free of charge.