About Wagah Border
It derives its name from the nearby bordering village Wagah situated on Pakistan side of the border. It is also known as Atari Border since the Indian side of the international line is situated in the Indian village of Atari, which is at a distance of 31 km from Golden Temple. The tourist spot can easily be reached from the Hotel PR Residency as the two locations are only 29 kilometres apart and it only takes 35 minutes to reach Wagah Border from Hotel PR Residency.
The major attraction regarding and related to Wagah Border is the Evening Parade and Retreat Ceremony between India’s Border Security Force and Pakistan’s Rangers. Started in 1959 after an agreement between the governments of both countries, the Retreat Ceremony is a symbol of the 70-year-old rivalry, and brotherhood, between the two nations. Seen as a symbol of honour and pride for each nation, the retreat ceremony is carried out and treated with respect and seriousness by Soldiers on both sides.
Evening Parade and Retreat Ceremony
The official ceremony begins at the time of sunset, with a parade by the soldiers from both sides. However, the official ceremony is preceded by a period of cheering and slogan raising by visitors on both sides of the border. There are shouts of patriotism as well as dancing by the visitors to a thunderous applause. The parade and retreat ceremony, which usually last for 30 minutes, features a lot of aggression and anger from the soldiers on both sides.
Even though the anger and aggression have toned down in recent years, the dedication and determination of the soldiers bring out the patriotic side of every visitor. Near the end of the parade, the Iron Gates are opened. The flags of India and Pakistan are lowered simultaneously and then folded. The ceremony ends with a retreat that involves a brusque handshake between soldiers of both the sides. Once the soldiers have returned to their dugouts, the gates are closed, signalling the end of the ceremony.
The easiest way to reach Wagah Border is by booking a taxi in advance and using the taxi for the round trip. Other than that, buses are always running between Amritsar bus terminal and Atari, but buses only travel till Atari bus stop. From there, an auto or a taxi is needed to reach the final destination.
Since the tourist spot is actually an international border between two countries, there are mobile jammers placed all over the premise for security reasons. Hence, once you find a suitable place in the seating area, there is a high chance that there will be no signals on your mobile phone.
Speaking of Seating arrangements, due to the forever increasing number of tourists that are visiting to see the parade, a new balcony is being constructed by the Government. Once the immense structure is opened for the tourists, it will increase the seating capacity of the facility to around 12,000.
For the visitors who wish to enjoy the ceremony and parade right from the front, special VIP passes are also available, which can be obtained by getting in touch with either BSF personnel or from the officers working in the Customs department.
The ceremony is one of the most visited events in the entire country. During the summers, the ceremony commences at around 5.30PM and at around 4.30PM during the winters. Hence it is important for the visitors to reach the destination 1 hour in advance to enjoy all the proceedings.