A visit to Amritsar is not complete without a visit to the Wagah Border. The Flag Ceremony in the evening draws, 1000nds of spectators every evening. Amritsar at the end of July is very hot and humid. Our host at the Eco Hostel in Amritsar organized two Tuk Tuk’s and off we went to the border. About 40 km to go – that equals to over 1.5 hours in the Tuk Tuk on bad roads. We were lucky as there was a big strike in the city so almost all the shops were closed and there was very little traffic. Still, it was very hot and humid – even in the moving Tuk Tuk.
Finally, we arrived at the Wagah Border. Since we were early due to the low traffic, we had to wait a while. Time for two Lemon Sodas – no salt or sugar for me, please. I hoped that the ice was not too dirty, it was helping to cool down a bit.
Then they did open the gates. A flood of bodies – the Indians, were running and pushing the last few hundred meters before the border. Nice for us foreigners – we had the left road for us, while the Indians had to walk on the right road. Divided by a few low trees and some grass, it was a few hundred meters in the sun to meet again at the first security control point. Bag control and then on to the next non-working metal detector. After there was waiting at the VIP and foreigner gate. Another bag control and more walking later, we reached the foreigner tribune. And then there was no more escape from the sun. The steps were super hot and we were heated from both sides. I do not remember the last time when I was so wet!
Finally, the “Show” did start:
The usual running with the flag – loud music in the bag and thousands of Indians cheering – nice opening!
Compared to last time the “running with the flags” was a lot shorter. After that, it is dancing on the road between the tribunes. Then it gets serious – two Women marched towards the closed border gate.
After the guys came out and marched halfway towards the border.
Angry looks and gestures toward the Pakistan side of the border
Now – who do you think invented the Funny Walk?? I think it was not Monthy Phyton!
Kind of a dance performance
Focusing the enemy at the gate
The gate opens and the soldiers march one after the other down towards the now open border and a show of strength starts. This time they had a live drummer to add to the whole thing.
Now the flags go down – very slow!
Folded the Indian flag is carried back into the safety of the guard-house.
Now it is a lot more funny walk.
The old man is smiling – the snipers not really.
He was on top of the tourist section.
People – many – very happy – cheering every action. Proud to be Indian I guess. And since you see quite a lot here I did some enlargement so you can see what is going on in the next pictures.
After the gate is closed, they wait a while to let the VIP and foreigners go to the gate and take some pictures from the Pakistani side or from people in front of the gate. Then they open the road for the Indians, so they can get a closer look and some pictures as well. Everyone walked back towards transportation and a dusty, noisy, and dirty convoy started toward the city of Amritsar. I was happy to be back at the hostel and one after the other we did shower.
Pro Tip for the Wagah Border
If you go there – come late – this way you do not have to sit in the hot sun too long, and you will be sitting close to the street for better pictures as well. Last time it did work out better for me as well. If you find yourself trapped high up – take a stroll to the toilet – take your time – and come back when the flag running starts. That way, you have a front-row seat!