Wahga is a small village on the Pakistan-India International border. It is also a Joint Crossing Point between the two countries. The same route is being used for conducting trade between Pakistan – India and also people having visas travel to either side of the divide through this village. It is the shortest link between Lahore (Pakistan) and India (Amritsar). A bus service used to run between the two countries which I believe has now been suspended due to strained relations (not sure though).
A Flag Lowering Ceremony is held daily at Wahga around sundown, which is attended by thousands of people from both countries. Huge arenas have been built at either side which house around 5000 spectators for the ceremony. The flags are placed right at the border with huge gates blocking access to each other’s territory. The hallmark of this ceremony is a parade (drill) that is attended daily by a sizeable crowd. On weekends or holidays the place is jam-packed.
Smartly turned out ramrod straight soldiers in impeccable uniforms put up a display of highly coordinated moves that leaves many a people spellbound and wanting for more. There’s lots of chanting and sloganeering from both sides. Each side tries to out do the other in raising national slogans and thus supporting their soldiers. The soldiers on the other hand display aggressive gestures to their counterparts from the other side.
It is a treat to watch this parade. I happened to be there a few weeks back (from the Pakistani side) and took some photographs of this procession. Hope you like them. Oh and please click to enlarge.
The Azadi (Freedom) Gate A view of the Indian crowd
The procession begins. The duo performs.
The Pakistani Gate. Opening the Gates.
The Pakistani Guard Commander. Look at those aggressive gestures.
Here’s some more of them. And some more……
Now the Gates are open. The Indian Side.
Lowering the Flags. Perfect performance in unison.
What a sight. Wow! is all I can say.