Delhi has no dearth of options as to how you could spend your weekends. There are innumerable weekend getaways that you embark on, interesting road trips that you can take, and if none of these work out you can just head out and explore “Saadi Delhi” (our Delhi). My quest of exploring places and events happening in Delhi took me to the grand and imposing Rashtrapati Bhavan. I went to Rashtrapati Bhavan on an early Saturday morning to witness the Change of Guard ceremony. Change of guard ceremony happens everyday but is open to public only on Saturdays.
What is Change of Guard ceremony
Change of Guards as the name clearly suggests, is all about replacing the guards who were already in place with a new set of guards. It is a military tradition. The ceremony takes place at the Forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan which makes it easy for the public to watch the grandeur. The ceremony starts with a small equestrian act by a group of President’s Body Guard (PBG).The moment the tall and tough body guards make their way in on their caparisoned horses with ‘Maa Tujhe Salaam’ being played in the background, you know your early Saturday morning is worth to bits.
Presidential Body Guard’s act is ensued by the commencement of old set of Army Guard contingent. After they take their place the new set of guards come in. Once they take their position they are inspected by their Guard Commander. To get ready for the inspection soldiers are being ordered to fall in line and after that they express their attendance by counting one, two and three.
Once they are ready the Guard Commander is invited for inspection. After the inspection is done the new contingent takes charge from the old contingent, exchange national salute among themselves and proceeds to their destinations at the tune of “Sare jahan se accha Hindustan hmara”. A short equestrian display by the PBG ensued by playing the National Anthem marks the end of the ceremony.
While I sat there and watched all this with my bare eyes all I could feel was proud. I had goosebumps throughout the ceremony. The impeccable presentation and flawless execution of the ceremony left me speechless. After the ceremony ended and I shook myself back to the reality I realized that the handful number of people that I saw at the beginning have transformed into a huge crowd. I also spotted a lot of foreigners there, most of them were busy getting clicked with the colorfully clad guards. I had pulled some string and managed a front row seat. There are definitely some perks of having a fauzi friend.
If you live in NCR or happen to be in NCR during the weekends you have to have to see this. The important details for the ceremony are as under:
When : On every Saturday (open for public)
Time: 8:00 AM (Sharp, there is a reason they say Army is punctual to bits)
Entry: Free (All you need is a valid ID proof)
Registration : No registration required.
How to reach: Nearest Metro station is Central Secretariat , from there you can walk or take an auto. Once you reach walk straight to the Gate No. 2.
I hope this will encourage you to pay a visit to this ceremony. You can thank me later. Have you seen Change of Guards before, if yes then share your experience.
Note: All the photos are courtesy Manish Sharma, more photos from the day can be seen here. I am giving due credit to him for the pictures.