Witness,with Dandapani on Vedic Odyssey's Gems of the Desert spiritual adventure to Northwestern India, the highly entertaining border closing ceremony that takes place between India and Pakistan.

Choreographed standoff at the India Pakistan border

India-Pakistan Border Closing Ceremony

In our time in Amritsar, we will attend the closing of the gates and the lowering of the flags ceremony at the India Pakistan border. Wagah, the town where the Atari border crossing is located, hosts a highly entertaining ceremony each evening. Border security forces from both nations, dressed in uniforms fit for any Monty Python movie, mimic a standoff of cockerels as thousands in stadium seating rally their teams on. This delightful event, with marches approved by the Ministry of Silly Walks, lasts about an hour. Eat your heart out, John Cleese! Enjoy the video and photos below.

Special thank you to Arunachala and Kanchana of Monkbrother for the use of the music track "Busk" from their album "Colours of Skin".

Below is an account of my visit to the border.

Wagah, India-Pakistan border, November, 5th, 2010: It was midday in Amritsar as I was strolling along the streets weaving in an out of the maze of people and traffic when I was approached by a man who said to me "you want to see the border ceremony?" Sure I did but I wasn't entirely sure if I wanted him to take me there. After a short conversation I agreed to his "best price" and promise of one seat per person in his jeep.

Later that afternoon I came back to our meeting spot and sure enough he was there with a growing group of people. "Hopefully he has a big jeep" I thought to myself, but somehow I knew it was highly unlikely.

Before long there were 14 of us squeezed into a jeep that seated 7. Cramped in the back with my face almost pressed against the rear window we whizzed through the streets of Amritsar, slowing down only for cows on the road, and eventually made our way out of town to the border which is about 30kms outside of Amritsar.

Wagah is the only road border crossing between Pakistan and India. Dusty, desolate and lined with colorful trucks parked along the highway, it lies on the Grand Trunk Road and is located between the cities of Amritsar in India and Lahore in Pakistan. Each evening the "lowering of the flags" ceremony is held. The humorous but highly entertaining parade conducted by the Border Security Forces of India and the Pakistan Rangers soldiers imitate a standoff of prideful cockerels.

Stadium like seating have been built on either side of the border to house the thousands of fans that come to cheer on their border forces. The atmosphere is almost no different than a crazed one-day cricket match. "Hindustan Zindabad!" (long live India) is the cheer resounding on the Indian side. On the Pakistani side a huge portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan, can been seen. Here the crowd is split with separate seating for men and women.

The lowering of each country's flags and the closing of the gates ceremony lasts little over an hour. Never a dull moment with military marching right out of Monty Python, deafening cheering on either side and colorful costumes, eer… I mean uniforms.

I'm looking forward to experiencing it all again in our "Gems in the Desert" spiritual adventure.

The closing of the gates and lowering of the national flag ceremony at the India Pakistan border crossing in Wagah (Attari border), north western Indian (close to Amritsar) in the state of Punjab.
The 14 seater jeep....NOT!
The closing of the gates and lowering of the national flag ceremony at the India Pakistan border crossing in Wagah (Attari border), north western Indian (close to Amritsar) in the state of Punjab.
The closing of the gates and lowering of the national flag ceremony at the India Pakistan border crossing in Wagah (Attari border), north western Indian (close to Amritsar) in the state of Punjab.
Indian Border Security Force
The closing of the gates and lowering of the national flag ceremony at the India Pakistan border crossing in Wagah (Attari border), north western Indian (close to Amritsar) in the state of Punjab.
The closing of the gates and lowering of the national flag ceremony at the India Pakistan border crossing in Wagah (Attari border), north western Indian (close to Amritsar) in the state of Punjab.
The closing of the gates and lowering of the national flag ceremony at the India Pakistan border crossing in Wagah (Attari border), north western Indian (close to Amritsar) in the state of Punjab.
At the border gate. The men in black are the Pakistani Rangers with the Pakistani crowd in the back.
The closing of the gates and lowering of the national flag ceremony at the India Pakistan border crossing in Wagah (Attari border), north western Indian (close to Amritsar) in the state of Punjab.
The closing of the gates and lowering of the national flag ceremony at the India Pakistan border crossing in Wagah (Attari border), north western Indian (close to Amritsar) in the state of Punjab.
The crowd on the Indian side.
The closing of the gates and lowering of the national flag ceremony at the India Pakistan border crossing in Wagah (Attari border), north western Indian (close to Amritsar) in the state of Punjab.
On the Pakistani side, women have their own seating.
The closing of the gates and lowering of the national flag ceremony at the India Pakistan border crossing in Wagah (Attari border), north western Indian (close to Amritsar) in the state of Punjab.
The Indian flag has been lowered and is now being returned to a safe place for the night.
The closing of the gates and lowering of the national flag ceremony at the India Pakistan border crossing in Wagah (Attari border), north western Indian (close to Amritsar) in the state of Punjab.
"Hindustan Zindabad!" is the cry.
Back to the top
Celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights with Dandapani on Vedic Odyssey's spiritual adventure to Amritsar