Running by holding an India flag high in my hands
Towards the India-Pakistan border till the gate that separates us
Surrounded by hundreds of people cheering loudly
With thumping music playing in the background
Is something which I had never imagined would happen to me
Is something which made me feel so proud of my nation
Is some electrifying feeling that made me held my head high !
We wanted to make a visit to the Wagah border / Attari border and it materialised on our recent vacation. Wagah is part of Pakistan, attached to this border and Atari is part of India, attached to this border. The flag-lowering ceremony at this place has been taking place since 1959 and is being followed jointly by the military forces of India and Pakistan. This ceremony takes place every day in the evening before sunset and huge crowds flow in to live in the experience. Since our visit here happened here towards the end of March, it was little hot but that didn’t make the numbers less.
We started from our hotel at Amritsar by 1:30, stopped for our lunch at the much famed Brother’s Dhaba (more on this later) on the way and were at the border by 2:30. People aren’t allowed to carry anything except water bottles, wallet and camera. After getting security checked in a pretty long line, we were seated in a big auditorium by 3:30. Sitting right under the hot sun was the only uncomfortable factor, but we subsided it by wearing caps, hats and sunglasses. People started flowing in and after a while, the music too started playing. All in all, the total atmosphere has got some energy in it. From this place, we could see Indian gate, the Pakistan gate, and the crowds assembled on the side of Pakistan. And there were people selling snacks and cool drinks, and the good thing about that is that they were all being sold at MRP. After a while, someone who is part of running the show started energising the crowd with slogans and then he was the one who gave people a chance to run around with the flag in their hands . And I duly took the opportunity 😊
At around 5, the actual ceremony began, with our military forces performing some extraordinary parade. The military officials on both the ends open the gates, meet, shake hands and then lower the flags and then finally close the gates. All this takes around 30 minutes and it is worth watching. The whole thing was so electrifying that even A started cheering loudly , as loud as she could, and forgot all about the heat and crowd.
The panaromic view !
p.s. We didn’t know about the VIP passes, but it looked like getting those passes would get one a better seat and a better view.