The greatest show on earth

Trip Start Sep 19, 2012
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Trip End Jul 22, 2014


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Flag of India  , Punjab,
Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Took a drive to the Atari - Wagah border post between India and Pakistan. As I am sure most of you know that they have shared a rocky past. This apparently the only shared border where there has been no conflict.

As we leave Amritsar for the 45 minute drive to the border the traffic gets heavier. Our taxi drops us off and tells us the border is about 10mins walk away. As I walk down the main road I can hearing a low rumble of noise and music. There are police and army officials all over and are constantly searching people and checking in bags. I walk up to the border post and foreighners are told to go through a seperate entrance. The noise is defeaning with Indian pop music and cheering. Eventually after another passport check and more frisking i walk past a huge bank of concrete seating and told to stand next to little road. I glance around and it is like a football stadium behind me. Thousands of Indians cheering, singing and waving flags. There is a constant shout of "Hindustan zindabad". (Long Live India). Army personal try desperatly to keep the crowds of the narrow road and people are walking up down whipping the crowd into a frenzy. The only thing missing is the mexican wave.

I look left towards the Pakistan border which is about 50 meters away and the exact scene is being played out their side. Slowly the sun begins to set and a command barks out from a soldier. About 8 soldiers immaculate dressed with large red peacock type headresses, twirled mustaches and bulging eyes come marching down the road. Every movement is exagerated with arms swirling, head high goose steping marching and lots of stamping of feat. A similar contingent appears from the Pakistan side. For the next thirty minutes the soldiers take turns to parade and stomp up to the gate, glare at the Pakistanis while they do the same. The crowd has gone ballistic abd you now think it is five minutes to go in a cup final and the scores are drawn. This is passion, patriosm, entertainment and Monty Pythons mimistry of silly walks all thrown in to together. The sun sets below the border and the flags are lowered, the two commanding officers shake hands and the large metal gates are swung shut. The border is closed. The show is over. This happens every night of the year and between 15000 and 20000 people attend!
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Comments

Lu on

Wouldn't it be great if this happened at a few more border posts in the world! Beit Bridge?

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