Where in the world would you see crazy hats, chest thumping and silly walks, all at the same place??
If you see all that, you must be at the village of Wagah (near Amritsar), watching the daily Border ceremony between the Pakistan Rangers and the Indian Border Security Force.
The border at Wagah is one of few road border crossings between Pakistan and India.
Everyday as the sun sets, a sort-of “beating the retreat ceremony” is held.
Driving up to Wagah, it seems that the entire town of Amritsar is heading up with you. There is seating there for up to 10,000 people and it’s a mad scramble to get a seat.
Being a foreigner, we get to seat in the not-quite-vip area.
On this day, Paul and I made a move for the very top so as to get a good view of the proceedings.
On the Indian side, it starts with lots of flag waving, kids and adults walking the Indian flag right up the border, a bit of dancing and then it’s time for the serious ceremony to start.
Throughout, cries of “Hindustan” and “Pakistan” ring out across the border.
The ceremony starts with two armed Border Security Force members marching up to the gate that is the border. Then, the perfectly dressed Border Security Force members do their moves.
It’s hard to describe what you see but it’s like duelling peacocks trying to outdo each other. There’s alot of blustering from both sides, alot of shouting, lots of “marching up and down the square” movements (note Monty Python reference). alot of adjusting of hats and lots of stamping of feet.
Just Youtube “Wagah Border Ceremony” and you’ll see what I mean.
The ceremony ends with the perfectly coordinated lowering of the Indian and Pakistani flags.
The gates are then slammed shut and the flag is carried away.
Here are some photos to give you an idea: