Border Ceremony as a Spectator Sport
Wednesday, 18th March 2009 by Ian Brown
The road between the Indian city of Amritsar and the Pakistani city Lahore crosses the border through the village of Wahga (or Wagah, depending on which side of the border you’re on), which was divided in half when the subcontinent was partitioned in 1947.
While most border posts are mundane places where you fill out forms and get your passport stamped, this one is the scene of possibly the most spectacular – and the most well attended – border ceremony in the world, with crowds from both nations packing their own grandstand for a lively and festive celebration of nationalism.
By day, people and goods flow across the border, often with porters of one nation handing packages across the border to porters from the other. However at sunset, troops from the two countries parade in aggressive fashion, with much stamping, staring, brandishing of weapons, slamming of gates and coordinated flag-lowerings, all timed precisely such that one nation’s flag is not removed earlier than the other.
Thanks to Mukesh Kanchan.