The India-Pakistan Wagah Border Ceremony: India Edition

The pageant and bravado of the daily India-Pakistan Wagah Border Ceremony is a one of the great geopolitical spectacles in the world. My friend arranged VIP seats through a military connection and I lapped up every moment.

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Access from India is via Amritsar. The ceremony is daily in summer at 17:30 India/17:00 Pakistan, and earlier in winter. They are many security checks so it is important to arrive early. Assertive foreigners can bluff their way to the front of most lines and generally are given good seats. A legitimate hotel or tour guide can also help in this. Many tourists stop at the nearby Sarhad restaurant, such as a Radisson Blu van of tourists I saw.

Sarhad Food Kitchen 01

Sarhad Food Kitchen 02

Near the old border crossing are lonely outposts and the site of Pul Kanjri.

Pul Kanjri 03

Pul Kanjri 01

Pul Kanjri 02

At the border, in the lead-up, both sides blast patriotic and pop songs. Perhaps in defiance of the segregated gender seating opposite, Indian women fill the street in Bollywood-style dance, while several Indians at a time run up to the border and back waving the Indian flag.

Wagah Border Closing 01

Wagah Border Closing 03

The ceremony itself is pure bravado as each side seeks to out-stomp, kick and flex the other it ritual mirror actions. Near the opening and again at the close a guard from each side exchange broad-smile handshakes and in between the flags are lowered.

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After the ceremony, some of the guards head to one of the stretch of border markers for pictures.

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With our inside access we also saw the meeting hall where the monthly meetings between the two sides are held in alternate months.

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A must-see of a visit to either country.

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I noticed that sun sets over the Pakistan side so pictures would be better there, I would just have to verify that…

Wagah Border Closing 02

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