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Beating the Retreat

Beating the Retreat revives an ancient war custom that the war should be stopped by sunset. Bugles sounded in the battlefield marks the end of the battle for the day. In modern times this custom has a ceremonial role. In India, Beating the Retreat is celebrated on January 29 every year, marking the formal end of the Republic Day celebrations.

The majestic event is held at Vijay Chowk in the heart of New Delhi with the majestic structure of Rashtrapathi Bhavan in the backdrop. The event commences with a parade by select contingents of the armed forces. They play martial music and march in intricate patterns. The parade climaxes with all the bands playing in unison. As the bands drop silent, a lone trumpeter plays the moving tune 'Siki a mole' followed by the Massed Bands playing the hymn 'Abide with me', said to be the favorite of Mahatma Gandhi.

The buglers sound the retreat at exact 6 pm and the National Flag is lowered to the National Anthem bringing the Republic Day celebrations to a formal end. As the contingents slowly drift away comes the most appealing part of the show. A thousand bulbs lit up the Rashtrapathi Bhavan and adjoining buildings. A fitting finale for the annual celebrations of the Indian republic.

Updated on 7th June, 2005
Location: New Delhi

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