29th January , 2016 marked the culmination of India’s 67th Republic Day Celebrations with the grand “Beating Retreat” ceremony at Vijay Chowk. The event was a visual and musical delight, with 15 military bands performing live to a packed audience including The President of India, Vice President, Prime Minister and top military, political and administrative dignitaries. Thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to this unique ceremony with Lutyen’s beautiful creations in the backdrop – Rasthrapati Bhavan , North & South Blocks!
“Beating the Retreat” is an age-old military tradition, performed at sunset for troops to disengage from battles. It began in India in early 1950s and has been annually put together since then , with all processes intact- Our President (Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces) arrived in a royal horse-driven carriage and received salute from all the contingents present. Band members in their colorful gears of red, green and navy blue began playing the tunes soon after.
In all, 26 foot-tapping and eloquent tunes were played during the allotted 90 minutes, with Indian classical instruments making their debut this year. There was also a synchronous blend “jugalbandi” of Western and Indian musical scores receiving applause galore from crowds . From ‘The High Road to Linton’, ‘Redetsky’, ‘Marching through Georgia‘ to the evergreen ‘Saare Jahan se Acha‘ & ‘Bharat Humko Jaan Se Pyaara Hai’, there reverberated stirring music throughout.
The event ended on a high with entire Central Vista being illuminated in unison, and it was surely a sight to behold, as you can see below 🙂