Atari Wagah Border Ceremony – India, Lowering the Flag

If you are traveling to Amritsar, there is one place that you should not miss: The Wagah Border, the lowering the flags and border closing ceremony in Lahore, in the border between Indian and Pakistan.

Wagah is a small village located on the Grand Trunk Road, between the cities of Amritsar (India) and Lahore (Pakistan), near the border that goes by the name of Wagah Border. It is mainly a village with a road crossing, a goods transit terminal with a railway station.

The Wagah border is located 24 km from Lahore, approximately 32 km from Amritsar and 3 km from Atari, a border village. The name of the village Wagah, has a similar name from the Pakistani side, Wahga.

Approximately 600 meters east of this village, India and Pakistan are divided by the Radcliffe line, which serves to demarcate the boundaries between the two countries.

This line of Radcliffe divided the village of Wagah into two parts. The eastern part went to India and the western region to Pakistan.

The Wagah rail station is located approx 400 meters into South. Since 1947, after the independence of the British Government and the consequent territorial division between India and Pakistan, this border is active, with migrants from India and Pakistan entering and leaving daily through this border, to this day.

The border crossing is known as the crossing of the Atari border in India and the Wahga Border in Pakistan.

Every day, during the sunset period, thousands of people are heading to this border, on both sides, from all over the country and many tourists from across the globe.

Flag retreat ceremony is celebrated here every single day. At sunset thousands of people from Pakistan and India, come to the border to see the Wagah Border Ceremony. If you want to attend this ceremony, you should get there around 4 in the afternoon and find a decent place to participate in the event, otherwise, you will see the ceremony space overcrowded.

Wagah Border in Lahore | Happymind Travels
Wagah Border in Lahore, party before the ceremony

The best way to get there is from the premises of the Golden Temple, where you will find many other tourists, from and outside India, planning to go and some of them looking for other travelers to share expenses.

When you get to Wagah, you will see people there to paint the India flag on the face. Give it a try. It only takes a few seconds, and you will feel in the perfect state of mind for this event.

The entrance to the “stadium” where the ceremony takes place is a bit odd since all security gives priority to all foreigners so they can get there first and find the best position possible.

Wagah Border Entrance | Happymind Travels
Wagah Border Entrance

The Wagah Border Ceremony

The ceremony of flag collecting on the Wagah border is a daily military practice, since 1959, between the security forces of India and Pakistan.

Wagah border became famous for the ceremonial closing of the gates and the lowering of the flags of India and Pakistan.

Over 5000 people converge on the Indian side to see the ceremony, known as Beating the Retreat. As indicated in the Indian flag code, it has been determined that the national flag will be raised from sunrise and lowered at sunset.

Over the years, this military ceremony in Wagah has turned into a diversion, attracting thousands of people every day, creating a festive atmosphere comparable only to football matches, which is strange, given the unfriendly history between the two countries.

BSF (Border Security Force) of India and the Rangers of Pakistan compete to raise their feet as high as possible, with strong advances and at the same time with war screams in the attempt of a soldier to overcome his mirror (soldier on the side opposite, with the same type of actions).

The guards use their bodies, instead of their weapons, displaying a complete, carefully choreographed scorn.

While the whole choreographed routine was created to enhance good relations between India and Pakistan, the ceremony often became a feud between the two countries.

Wagah Border Soldiers in Lahore | Happymind Travels
Wagah Border Soldiers in Lahore

Guards participating in the ceremony are carefully selected for their height, posture, and their ability to perform the exercise flawlessly.

Although more aggressive elements of the routine have been toned down, the ostentatious and theatrical hostility remains electrifying.

It has become a tradition for people from both sides of the border, converge at the border post and attend the ceremony. At weekends and holidays, on the Indian side, it is likely that it will have much more public than usual, filling the space completely.

The time of the flag lowering ceremony changes depending upon the season. In general, it starts at about 4.15 pm during winter and at about 4:45 pm in the summer.

Wagah Border | Happymind Travels
Wagah Border at the end of Ceremony

It is a great option to buy some of these memorabilia and take it home if it were not for such a memorable ceremony and perhaps one of those unique moments in a lifetime.

Conclusion

This ceremony is not only carried out at Wagah, but it is also done at other India/Pakistan border posts, such as at Ganda Singh Wala border in Kasur District, Hussainiwala border or Fazilka border in Okara District.

These ceremonies are very different from Wagah. They are held in an environment with fewer viewers, and usually originate from the local regions, rather than Wagah, where Indians and Pakistanis come from different states to meet with some foreign tourists.

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