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PICTURES: Beating Retreat marks end of R-Day celebrations

Last updated on: January 30, 2014 12:22 IST

Beating Retreat marks end of R-Day celebrations

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Soul-stirring martial tunes and foot-tapping drumbeats on Wednesday reverberated as bands played near the majestic Rashtrapati Bhavan lit by thousands of bulbs during Beating the Retreat event, marking the end of the Republic Day celebrations.

The highlight of the event was the arrival of President Pranab Mukherjee, the chief guest for the event, in an open six-horse buggy along with the Presidential Bodyguards.

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Image: Border Security Force soldiers ride their camels in front of India's presidential palace Rashtrapati Bhavan during a rehearsal for the 'Beating the Retreat' ceremony in New Delhi
Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters

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The Presidential buggy made a comeback in a public event after its use was discontinued decades ago due to security reasons. The ceremony began with unfurling of the Indian flag with the National Anthem played in the background, descending a solemn mood at Vijay Chowk.

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Image: 'Beating the Retreat' ceremony in New Delhi People are silhouetted against the illuminated Rashtrapati Bhavan during the
Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters

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This was followed by fanfare of the buglers which announced the formal beginning of the ceremony.

First to perform was the Massed Bands, which set the tone for the evening with the famous tune of 'Jahan Daal Daal Par'. Indian tunes were the flavour of the ceremony. As many as 18 performances were based on tunes by Indian musicians.

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Image: President Pranab Mukherjee arrives in a ceremonial buggy for the Beating the Retreat ceremony in New Delhi
Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters
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The band members, in their red, olive green, orange and navy blue uniform, played for an hour creating a mesmerising visual and musical treat for the spectators.

President Mukherjee, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister A K Antony, Chiefs of the three defence forces along with the hundreds of spectators watched in awe as the bands from several regiments of the armed forces played.

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Image: Bands of the Indian military stand to attention during the 'Beating the Retreat' ceremony in New Delhi.
Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters

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Fourteen military bands, 17 pipes and drums bands, 85 buglers and 14 trumpeters from various regiments of army played besides four military bands each of the Indian Navy and The Indian Air Force. The principal conductor of the Beating the Retreat ceremony was Squadron Leader G Jayachandran.

'Beating the Retreat' has emerged as an event of national pride when the Colours and Standards are paraded. The ceremony traces its origins to the early 1950s when Major Roberts of the Indian Army indigenously developed the unique ceremony of display by the massed bands.

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Image: A mother directs her daughter to pose for a photo at the venue for the 'Beating the Retreat' ceremony in New Delhi.
Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters

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Beating Retreat marks end of R-Day celebrations

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Also, 10 new compositions were being played for the first time - four by the army ('Jahan Daal Daal Pe Sone ki Chidiya', 'Swarnim Desh', 'Blessing of the God' and 'Dhruv') and six by the navy and the air force ('Skylord', 'Brave Warriors', 'Stride', 'The Western Seas', 'Rejoice in Raisina' and 'Fidos'). Also for the first time 'Gagan Damama Bajio' quick march tune was played.

This year the Indian Army introduced a drum 'Tum Tum' comprising four sets of small drums. The ceremony marks a centuries-old military tradition, when the troops ceased fighting, sheathed their arms and withdrew from the battlefield and returned to the camps at sunset at the sounding of the Retreat.

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Image: Bands of the military sound the retreat during the 'Beating the Retreat' ceremony in New Delhi.
Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters

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Colours and standards are cased and flags lowered. The ceremony creates a nostalgia for the times gone by. The Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Parliament House, the North and South Blocks along with other official buildings in Raisina Hill lit up on the occasion.

As the tricolour was lowered by military personnel, camel-mounted troops on regalia atop Raisina Hill retreated along with the bands. The corridors of power were lit up by the lights bringing the 65th Republic Day celebrations to a conclusion.


Image: A view of the illuminated Rashtrapati Bhawan, South and North Block, during the Beating the Retreat Ceremony, in New Delhi.
Photographs: PIB

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