Before leaving Amritsar we took a ride out to Attira-Wagah which straddles the Pakistan/India border. Every night at dusk the border is closed, and this is accompanied by a ceremony where incredibly tall guards on both sides, face off against each other, in a show of marching, stamping and throwing their arms in the air. All this is done whilst dressed in a decorative uniform and impressive head-dress.
The ceremony lasted for a couple of hours including the run-up and attracted a huge crowd on both sides. There was a very nationalistic feel, as the Indians took to bollywood dancing in front of the gates and pumping loud music across the border. Lots of flag waving and chants for ‘Hindustan’ kept the atmosphere electric, and the whole experience was one of the most energised and celebratory events we had so far seen in India.
Whilst the ceremony started out as being quite theatrical and aggressive, the eventual closing of the gate was quite touching, as the guards on both sides lowed their respective flags in unison before shaking hands and closing the gates for the night.