Beating Retreat –Indian Republic Day

Retreat means the end of Indian Republic Day celebrations for the year. This is a moving ceremony conducted on the evening of January 29 every year and as the word speaks, the three wings of the military perform the bands before the march past. Indian President is the Chief Guest for the evening and receives final National Salute from the cavalry unit.

Curtain for Republic Day Festivities–India
Salute India
The Retreat means the end of the Indian Republic Day celebrations. Beating Retreat is held after three days from the celebrations of the Republic Day ie on 29th January. The three wings of Indian Military, viz Airforce, Navy and Army perform their bands at Raisina Hills and at the adjacent place near the Rashtrapathi Bhavan. The Indian President, as is the custom, is the Chief Guest for the evening. As the Indian President arrives under the escort of the Presidents Bodyguards which in itself is a cavalry unit. As the President steps in, the cavalry unit give the National Salute followed by National Anthem play in their Bands. At the same time, the National flag is unfurled.

Retreat-Ceremonial and Musical activity

The function commences with the march past of the Three Indian Military groups viz Air force, Navy and Army in unison with the rhythmic tunes of their bands playing popular tunes. The groups march in quick time at times followed by slow march and compound march and the spectators enjoy the movements which are intricate and beautiful patterns. Then the Pipes and Drums of the Indian Army play traditional tunes followed by the combined bands of the Navy and Air force. Later the three band groups march forward and reach close to the President's seat. At this time, the famous 'Drummer's call' is performed by the drummers. The most attractive feature of this solo performance is that the last tune played before the Retreat is the "Abide with me" – a Christian Hymn written by Henry Francis Lyte. It is also heartening and throbbing to hear the chimes coming out of the tubular bells creating a mesmerizing ambiance. Immediately after this, the bugle is called for Retreat and all the Indian flags are brought down. The master of the Band group marches to the Indian President and seeks permission to take the bands away. Here comes the announcement that the closing ceremony of Indian Republic day is complete. While the entire bands march back to Raisina Hills end, they play the most popular patriotic and martial tune of the famous lines "Saare Jahan Se Achcha" . Soon after their crossing the Raisina Hills, a unique display of illumination is set up which gives the entire atmosphere a colourful meaning to the entire episode. The cavalry Unit of the Presidents Body Guard, on horse back, arrive and their band plays the National Anthem again and the Indian President receives National Salute for the final time.

The entire ceremonial functions are worth watching and the march pasts are royal and pleasant in nature.


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