The daily closure of the India/Pakistan border in Wagah (the Pakistani name) is one of the world’s most spectacular ceremonies. Situated on the trunk road that links Amritsar in India’s Punjab with Lahore in Pakistan’s Punjab, it takes place at the only land-based crossing between the two nations.
Shortly before snset each day, the Border Security Force of India and the Pakistan Rangers perform a carefully choreographed military exercise that signals the closure of the border for the night.
In front of overflowing grandstands on each side, soldiers ceremoniously parade, stomp and wildly gesticulate in a display of controlled aggression, all to the soundtrack of proud and boisterous Indians and Pakistanis cheering for their respective nations.
The powerful yet peaceful posturing from each side – which sees handshakes all round and the border gates slammed shut – culminates in the scrupulously synchronised lowering of both nations’ flags.
Many local minibus taxi owners offer cheap same-day trips to and from Amritsar. The journey, which ends at the Indian town of Attari a short walk from the border, lasts around an hour.
This clip from Michael Palin’s Himalaya series captures a flavour of the event from the Pakistani side. Although the ceremony has been somewhat toned down in aid of improving the tense relations between the two countries, it remains a unique, must-do experience.
Here’s one from earlier this year:
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…