Continuing our journey in Amritsar, After visiting the Golden Template we visited Wagah Border. Wagah is a territory between India and Pakistan. Within the border, they have a Flag ceremony nearing sunset time when they put down the flag. We tried to look it up before we go to Amritsar and found that the ceremony itself is something festive, so we thought why not?
Going from our hotel area to Wagah Border will take around 1 hour drive. We went there by renting a car and driver. This is something that i will recommend you to do as well. The ceremony take place around 5 PM during our visit yet our driver suggested us to leave at 2 PM. He shared with us that it will be very pack and it’s better if we leave earlier. Off we go!
I don’t really have a good picture to share but i must say that the experience of driving in India ( Amritsar to be exact ) is something that is at a different level from what i’ve experienced else where. Jakarta traffic is already something, but oh my.. India is different. I still find the Honking most of the time, that we know. However, within the trip i could find so many things happening at once and that there are so many actors. You could find not only people with many types of vehicle but also various kind of animal e.g. dog and cow. It’s something that is very unique where you could find cows roaming around on the main road. WOW.. just WOW! and it’s something that captures my eyes up until our destination.. the Borders.
I was superbly excited with the fact that i could see giant India & Pakistan Flag not very far from where i was, there lies another land another country. I couldn’t contain my excitement and curiosity. Once we reached the parking lot, we prepare ourselves + our belongings. Please no bag when you get in bring only the necessary items such as some money, camera, phone, passport – no food / drinks. Once we were ready and got off the car some people approached us offering this and that and we surrendered to one guy who offered to draw a temporary Indian flag. ( see pic below ) then we proceeded to the lane to enter the place.
When you want to enter the stadium, there are two lanes. Make sure you go to the correct lane since there is a separate lane for foreigners. I guess because it’s not the time yet we have been requested to wait outside of the stadium. It was very hot so i would recommend you to wear your sunglasses and/or your hat. Once they allow you to get in, you can’t seat as what you want. The officer direct us to go into specific seating arrangement only for foreigner and we have to fill the space accordingly. Since we were the first we have to go the upper corner. Sitting there under the hot sun, i’ve learned my lesson. Make sure you are hydrated and do not drink the cold drink nor ice. Btw, the price over there for drinks has been standardised so don’t be fooled by the seller. Have a look around you since the price is being put on the wall / pillar. The standardised price is reasonable.
Okay, now that we have been seated here comes the wait until the ceremony starts. While waiting, i could see my driver words come true. It’s packed with people. I have been amazed that there are many local comes to this place as well. So it’s indeed a tourist attraction. At the same time, i could also see people are passing by from India to Pakistan and vice versa. So, yep this is an actively used border between two countries.
When it’s started, India side starts with some acts by one officer to spice up the condition. It’s all in local language so i didn’t really understand. xD yet, it’s still captivating. There are certain formation that they have made, then it’s continued with some songs being played, big wave, and a gigantic Indian flag being passed on among the spectators moving from one end to another end. Not only that, i’ve been informed that if you are a woman you could join the ceremony bringing the flag from the stadium entrance to the center along with the rest and it’s indeed happened. It was very joyful. people are happy, dancing, singing along, and all before things get a bit more serious when the officers start their part.
After all the songs here comes the officers parts. They made so many formation. Too bad we couldn’t really catch all of that. It’s still enticing for the eyes though. All movement are quite attractive as if you are acting very big showing off your capacity and capability. It felt like it with some audio accent here and there to amplify the effect. All the formation start from the entrace towards the gate between India and Pakistan. All of our eyes are at the border when both countries’ officer meet each other when the gate is opened. btw, on India side they provided a big screen which could aid you in seeing the whole things.
Both Countries are showing their act when they are facing each other. All with the extravagant movement and sound. I tried to look for the meaning and it turned out to be some friendly figures between both showing the power of each. It is actually have a good meaning behind it not some agitation. happy to know 🙂
After the gate is opened and the flag is coming down. That’s actually the cue for us to leave. Again, this is the notes from our driver since if you wait until everything’s finished you will have to move along with the whole stadium. You could see from the picture how packed is that so we decided to go of. even that, many did the same.
You will have to go out from the same place where you entered the stadium. Different from entering protocol, exiting protocol is more lax. the lane separation between foreigners and local is no longer there. Be aware of your belonging during that time since there are quite number of people around you. We managed to go out just fine until we reached the parking lot and meet our driver. The driver directly got off as he want to avoid the jam which we could understand as well there are many cars and buses parked so we could imagine how it will be.
Leaving that place i can’t helped but feel surreal. There are so many things that my eyes could see and my senses to experience. It leaves me in awe.. My visit in Amritsar is wrapped! or not yet.. since the experience in Amritsar airport on the next day is another story to tell.
See you in the next post and wish you where there to experience all that with us. 😉
Triana Mustika Rukmi