The Wagah border crossing ceremony

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Shortly before sunset, the Border Security Force of India and the Pakistan Rangers perform a carefully choreographed military exercise

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…

(Image: imtiaz333)

The Wagah border crossing ceremony was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Brett Ackroyd
Author: Brett Ackroyd (631 posts)

Brett hopes to one day reach the shores of far-flung Tristan da Cunha, the most remote of all the inhabited archipelagos on Earth…as to what he’ll do when he gets there, he hasn’t a clue. Over the last 10 years, London, New York, Cape Town and Pondicherry have all proudly been referred to as home. Now it’s Copenhagen’s turn, where he lends his travel expertise to momondo.com.