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Wagah Border Timings

Discussion in 'Punjab' started by TandonNisha, May 8, 2017.

  1. TandonNisha

    TandonNisha New Member

    My husband and I are both going to Amritsar to pay our respects at the Golden Temple. We would further like to go to the Wagah Border to see what it is actually like and experience the atmosphere there which everyone talks about.

    There are certain timings to visit the border and we want to know what the Wagah Border timings are.

    Please advise how far Wagah Border is from the Golden Temple so we would leave accordingly.
     


  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, welcome to the forum!

    wagah-border-timings.
    (Images from Daniel, Guilhem, Nil and Stefan)

    What is the Wagah Border Ceremony?

    The Wagah Border Ceremony is also known as the Beating Retreat Ceremony. This is a daily event that occurs in the Wagah Border, which is about 30 kilometres away from the Golden Temple of Amritsar. The Wagah Border is one of the only two open borders between India and Pakistan. As we all know, the rift between these two countries have been ongoing for many years, with the tensions around the areas each claim to be their own. While the ceremony showcases the patriotism of the soldiers of both nations, it also highlights the unique rivalry of India and Pakistan. This is a must-see spectacle that you won't be able to witness anywhere else in India, or in Pakistan, or even in the world.

    Where is the Wagah Border Located?

    The Wagah Border is located in between Amritsar in India and Lahore in Pakistan. Specifically, it can be found on the Grand Trunk Road, the landmark nearest to which is the Gurudwara Bakhshish Dham. The nearest railway station to the border, from the Indian side, is the Atari Shyam Singh Railway Station which is about four kilometres away from the border. There are usually direct trains from other cities like Amritsar, Delhi and Ludhiana to this railway station. From there, you can just hire a taxi or a rickshaw to take you close to the border. If you're coming from the Golden Temple, there are shared cabs from here that can take you close to the border area, but they don't have fixed timings. There are no direct buses from Amritsar or from the Golden Temple that reaches close to the border area.

    What to Expect in the Wagah Border Ceremony?

    The Wagah Border Ceremony is simply the Flag-Lowering Ceremony of both the soldiers of India, the Indian Border Security Force, and Pakistan, the Pakistan Rangers. While it has the same components of the ceremony found in many nations, the actual strains that the countries of India and Pakistan have add to the bizarre yet entertaining daily event that occurs in this border area. Initially, the ceremony included just the parade and actual lowering of the flag, but due to the increase of the number of tourists to the event, other added activities can be enjoyed.

    First, before the actual event happens, the audience, mainly the females, are encouraged to dance in the central 'stage.' Well, there's no stage but the central area between the concrete seats serves as the main stage for the events. With the blasting of traditional music on the background, the womenfolk can enjoy dancing and grooving along with other women. This is then followed by a racing event, which also includes the womenfolk only. Several women are selected for this event, wherein they have to run to the border gate and back while carrying the Indian flag. At both events, there are no restrictions on age, so all women can join whether they're very young or they're on the senior side.

    The main spectacle, the lowering of the flag ceremony, would then follow. This is when you would spot the soldiers of India, with their beige uniforms and striking red head gears, almost the shape of the feathers of a peacock. To the other side, you would spot the soldiers of Pakistan, with their all-black ensemble, complete with the peacock-like shape of the head gears as well. Soldiers from both sides also sport moustaches, except for the female soldiers, a requirement for the soldiers before one can join in this ceremony.

    Now, the soldiers from both sides would march into the border gate area, led by their highest leader. Soldier groups are usually six in number plus the designated leader. Shouts of patriotism ensue, all the while the soldiers are stomping, marching and kicking their legs high during each stop. The aggression and vibrant looks in the eyes of every soldier are sure to shake your patriotic side. The marching continues until both sides reach their border gates area and the two leaders would then shake hands, close the border gates again and finally, lower the flag.

    What are the Entry Fees for the Wagah Border Ceremony?

    This is the good part, there are no entry fees required for the Wagah Border Ceremony. Whether you're an Indian or a foreigner, you won't be required to pay any entry fees to enjoy the ceremony. There are various sitting areas in the premises though but they have set requirements before one can stay in them. For foreigners, they are even allotted their own queue and section so that they won't need to line with the locals, which can be very crowded, plus they can enjoy the ceremony as they would be close to the border gate.

    Seats in the Wagah Border Ceremony

    Type of SeatRequirementLocation
    VIP SeatsRelative of Indian Army Soldier or High Official in GovernmentClosest to Border Gate
    Foreigner SeatsForeigner With Passport ProofClose to Border Gate
    Ladies SeatsIndian FemaleFurther from Border Gate
    General SeatsIndian MalesFurthest from Border Gate
    These are the types of seats available in the Wagah Border Ceremony. First, you have the VIP Seats, which are the closest seats to the border gate. However, these seats aren't available for the general public as they are reserved for the families of the Indian Army or even families of high ranking officials of the government. Next is the Foreigner Seats, which is just next to the VIP Seats. These seats are only for foreign tourists with proper passport proof. The Ladies Seats are only for Indian females and it is located a bit further from the border gate area. The General Seats can accommodate all types of guests but they're usually the venue for Indian males and it is located the furthest from the border gate.

    There is a system as well for the letting in of tourists. VIP guests are given utmost priority and even when the entrance gate is still closed, they can enter the premises. Then, the next queue that would be allowed for entry are the foreign tourists and the females. The last queue to be given entry is that of the General Seats queue, which would mainly include the Indian males. Once you are in the entrance gate, there are several security checkpoints that you need to pass through before being ushered into your seats.

    What are the Timings for the Wagah Border Ceremony?

    The timings for the Wagah Border Ceremony differ, depending on the season of your visit. Generally, the ceremony starts 30 minutes before sunset so if you're planning a trip for a certain day, make sure that you know what time the sun will set during that day. The timings that would be given below are merely guides that can help you in your trip to the Wagah Border.

    Timings of the Wagah Border Ceremony

    SeasonMonthsTiming
    WinterOctober to March16:30
    Summer/MonsoonApril to September17:30
    During winter season, from October to March, the Wagah Border Ceremony usually starts at around 16:30 in the afternoon. During summer or monsoon seasons, from April to September, the Wagah Border Ceremony usually starts at around 17:30 in the afternoon. These timings aren't fixed though and sometimes, the crowds can also affect the timings due to the delays and queues. It is safer to be in the venue at least an hour before the scheduled ceremony. So during winters, be there at around 15:30 or earlier and during summers or monsoons, be there at around 16:30 or earlier.

    What are Other Must Knows Before Visiting the Wagah Border?

    Since this is a highly restricted area, mobile signals are deliberately cut off in the Wagah Border premises. Thus, in case an emergency occurs, you won't be able to contact your loved ones from this area. You are allowed to bring gadgets such as mobile phones and cameras in the premises. However, bags aren't allowed inside so it's best to bring only the necessary items you need. You can leave your other valuables in your hotel's safety deposit box or your vehicle. Wallets are allowed though but you can also opt to just take cash with you.

    There are some food and drink vendors inside the Wagah Border premises. But you can also opt to bring your own water and snacks with you, especially if you have children. Make sure you put them in transparent bags though so that they would be allowed inside. There are also vendors selling copies of the event itself in DVDs and CDs that you can buy as souvenirs. Quality of these items though are not guaranteed. Leave your cigarettes and lighters behind as they are not allowed in the venue premises.

    Keep in mind that during weekends and holidays, crowds here go up to the thousands. So if it's not an inconvenience, just time your watching of the ceremony during weekdays so that the crowds would be lesser. This is especially ideal for those with small children or seniors with them. As mentioned above, reach the venue at least an hour before the scheduled ceremony. Queuing takes a bit of time as well as the security checks. Allot another hour or so for getting out of the venue as well.

    What is the Verdict?

    As chaotic as it can be, the Wagah Border Ceremony is a spectacular showmanship of the nationalistic sides of both India and Pakistan. It is a pompous event highlighting the rivalry and tensions between these two countries. Equally mind blowing is the amount of support that the Indians have for the ceremony, as evidenced by the throngs of locals who go to the event on a daily basis. In a way, the ceremony exhibits the unparalleled unity and devotion that each Indian have for their country. So when you're in Amritsar, make sure you visit the Wagah Border and witness this one-of-a-kind event that's sure to spike the patriotic side in you as well.

    :)
     

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