India-Pakistan Border Ceremony
The crowd of Indian men were pressing in on us from all sides. Some were annoyed at us, pointing to the “women’s section”.
Sorry bhai. I shrugged my shoulders pretending to be an overly naïve foreigner. We had followed the momentum of the masses shoving and now we were accidentally wedged in without a way out.
Being three foreign yoga chicks, shielding one blond-haired ten-year-old child in the middle of us (which Indian folk seem enthralled by), the men tried to keep a safe and respectful distance. Everyone was chest-to-back, but the boob-to-backing became inevitable. We were at the entrance of the India-Pakistan (Wagah ) border ceremony and everyone wanted in.
In India, the only way to get in, is to push; not with hands, but with bodies.
Thankful to be yellow.
Had I been alone in this situation, my level of alarm would’ve been higher, with my attention working 100% and working at 360 degrees. Being a dark-haired Asian clumped with three light-haired Caucasians, I could relax knowing the spotlight wouldn’t be on me . There are times being Asian can work for you and against you in Asia.When it comes to camouflaging; it definitely works for you.
Eventually, we gals pushed as one unit towards the women’s line,… slowly….moving at an angle with the momentum of our male crowd.
Wagah border : Bitter rivals strutting and puffing their stuff
India and Pakistan have had a hard and bitter rivalry for ages. War, disputes on territory ownership… But when you watch the Wagah border ceremony you’ll wonder if they don’t have just a teensie bit of fun with their competition.
The lowering of the flag at sunset is a performance, much like a dance battle between two roosters, strutting, shaking and puffing their feathered moves. The choreographed moves are performed with aggression, as if in battle. It’s an intense showdown. It makes me realize two of the many things I love about India… it’s bravado and pageantry.
India’s pride has got a sense of humor, whether they know it or not.
Shrill and long-drawn rooster calls signaling territory followed by high kicks and puffing of chests, cocking of headdresses, etc… The crowd goes wild on both sides. A giant gate and wall between us.
Sitting in the foreigner section, you can’t see Pakistan’s comeback to India’s rooster dance, but you could imagine similar moves to match on enemy side. It’s a good show.
Here’s a video short of the performance at the border:
Bags, backpacks, purses or camera cases are not allowed into the ceremony area. There are security guards which will look for them and the crowds will be thick, so don’t risk trying to sneak it in. Leave them either, at your hotel or in the car.
Wagah Border Ceremony Hours:
The ceremony runs from 4:00pm-5:00pm
Getting to the Wagah Border
Taxis leave from Amritsar behind the Golden Temple. You should leave Amritsar by 3:30PM as it will be a 45 minute ride. A taxi might cost around 350 ruppees . An alternate option is to take a shared taxi which will cost about 80-100 rupees per person. Parking fees (around 100 ruppees) may be charged on top of that as your driver will need to park and wait for you.