Wagha Border Amritsar
Wagha Border Amritsar is actually a road that connects both countries, India and Pakistan. It is situated in Amritsar, Punjab. The Wagha Border Amritsar on the Grand Trunk Road connects two major cities. These are the Amritsar in Punjab and Lahore in Pakistan. The distance between these cities with the border is 22 km from Lahore and 28 km from Amritsar. There is specific ceremony organized at Wagha Border Amritsar by Indian Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers that is quite an attraction for people or visitors. Almost 5000 people gather in the area each day to see such amazing parade done by both countries’ military forces.
This ceremony was first held in 1959. You will find similar parade and practice between two countries at Mahavir and Sadqi border which is near Fazilka and also at Hussainiwala and Gandasinghwala border which is near Firozpur.
This ceremony is given such a height of excitement due to its long-term past. This was the only road connecting Pakistan with India before the inauguration of Aman Setu in Kashmir in the year of 1999.
This ceremony of the beating the retreat has gone through many changes. Since visitors are there to look at this parade, it was made less hostile in each of those changes. A notable event will be on 2010 when Major Yaqub Ali Khan who was the major of Pakistan rangers decided that this ceremony should be toned down even in the theatric manners what is shown.
Nations have their own histories to tell to those who are eager to find out. Each states and their culture has unique past to talk about. How did they reach to that point? That is as important as what is now. The change through time is what matters to some historians. Their histories tell exactly what has brought the change. Some nations are friendly to each other as you will find those nations where there is a dark past and a silent fight in the background. After finding out the relationship between India and Pakistan you will start believing into it. Matters are as cool in front as agitated behind.
But still this matter of rivalry is put down to rest in some of the specific areas of India and Pakistan border like Wagha Border. The connecting point held a ceremony of brotherly manners and an amazing colorful show where patriots of both countries gather. The ceremony is called beating retreat ceremony.
They should not forget that as it is a sign of rivalry, the sign of brotherhood should also be clearer in each of this event. This is the exact reason why soldiers are especially trained to parade in this ceremony. You will be shocked to find out that soldiers having additional moustache and beard are paid additional in this ceremony. The manlier approach is what required to parade here by both countries’ male soldiers.
Since the year of 2011, July, women guards of Border Security Force are also recruited to take part in this glorious ceremony.
This ceremony is performed for 45 minutes only. In summer it starts from 4:45 pm and in winter it starts little earlier, around 4:15 pm.
Overview Of The Ceremony:
This beating the retreat ceremony is also known as lowering the flags. Here both countries lower their flags. Visitors will find amazing military parades, practices by both security forces namely, India Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers. There are dances and patriotic songs. Visitors can join in the celebration also. This show is particularly held to deliver the meaning of rivalry and brotherhood hand-in-hand.
This ceremony starts after the sunset. You will find the gates of both countries slowly opening and the flags are lowering one after the other. When the ceremony ends both flags are folded as they were and the soldiers of both countries will exchange a handshake with each other. Finally the gates are closed once again. This ceremony is held each day and after the sunsets. For this amazing ceremony, many visitors of both countries come and even some foreign tourists also find it brilliant.
The border has an amazingly huge arch and both countries have iron gates. When these gates open, one infantryman keeps watch of the happenings each side. After this ceremony ends, soldiers retreat and their flags folded and ultimately those huge iron gates are slowly closed.
Events Surrounding The Wagha Border:
In the year of 2014, 2nd October, a frightening event occurred. Almost 60 people have died and almost 110 people found injured during a suicide attack done by an 18 year old boy who was carrying 5 kg explosives with him. The explosion occurred 500 meters away from the border and right after the auspicious ceremony had ended for that evening.
The countries having bad relationship also reflect in the ceremony. After the tension of 29th September, 2016 due to military confrontation, the celebration was continued but the entries of the Indian visitors were denied from that day onwards till 8th of October. This event has brought enough change in the ceremony. The militaries of the countries didn’t handshake in that time period. The countries celebrate their national festivals like Independence Day, Eid or Diwali with each other by distributing sweets and greetings. That year that was also declined from both sides.
How To Reach?
You can take either bus or private car to reach the Wagha Border. You can access this place via train also. Amritsar, Punjab station is the nearest train station of this Wagha Border. From Amritsar station you can take bus, taxi or can book a cab for visiting the border. But those transportations will not directly take you to the border. You have to walk a fair distance to reach there.
After reaching the point, you just need to follow the crowd. But if still you are confused then all you have to ask is where it is. The road is quite easy from bus or taxi stands. After a moment of walk you will be facing the huge crowd or line in front of the gate. Just wait for the time and you will be moving with the crowd and in the ground.
Precautions To Take:
- Your phone will not work in the area due to the jammers around the area. This was done to keep all area secured and prevent any harmful event. This is definitely a hindrance since you will cut off from any type of communication with people away from you. So being extra careful is necessary.
- Taking photographs are strictly forbidden. Although it is mentioned in the gates, but you have to forfeit it before you enter anyway. So it’s better to leave your electronic gadgets behind. Usually it is wise to leave it with your belongings in the transportation you have hired to come and go from the border.
- Be extra cautious when you enter and exit from the place. Due to the pressure of huge amount of visitors, you are surely to face some pick-pockets in the way. If you have left your valuable items behind then there is less worry. But still be careful, they are almost everywhere in that place.
- You will not be able to eat for those 45 minutes inside the ceremony so eat outside. There are many food stalls and drinks available before you reach the gate. Having some snacks is wise. But they are not going to serve you a restaurant food, the quality is pretty much average.
- Since you cannot take pictures or videos of the great event you can actually buy some CDs and DVDs before you come back from the place. In those DVDs you are going to find the whole event recorded. You will find plenty of those vendors selling CDs and DVDs but be extra careful since they also might cheat you by selling pirated and bad quality copies.
- If you have some health issues like respiratory problems, it is wise to avoid this place. The crowd is about 5000 and the pressure is huge. The area is hot due the barren condition. Punjab is itself hot so prepare enough to face the scorching Sun above.
- Punjab is hot as mentioned earlier, so it is better to visit the area during winter rather than in summer days. The weather is so hot in summer that in some point you will feel like having a heat stroke or something.
- Point out a meeting place where you and your friends will meet before you enter the place. The area is huge and so is the chance of getting lost and losing the sight of your friends. Remember the phones will not work and you cannot carry it inside too.
- Men and women are divided so be careful when you are separated from each other. Communicating through mobile phone is impossible so marking a meeting place is wise.
- After you leave the ground, there are 1000s of people leaving the ground with you. Keep your calm since you are going to be late. The reason is the huge traffic jam after the event ends and almost everyone wants leave the place together.
Though Wagah Border is the place where the land is divided into two different countries, India and Pakistan, but this is the only place where you can witness hearts melting, feelings for mother land rise and the true meaning for patriotism.