In a first, a grand drone show will dazzle the sky above the national capital during the Beating the Retreat ceremony to be held at Vijay Chowk on Saturday as part of the country's 73rd Republic Day celebrations.
The event will be graced by President and supreme commander of the armed forces Ram Nath Kovind.
Other dignitaries, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, will witness the show.
According to the defence ministry, the 10-minute drone show involving 1,000 drones will commemorate 75 years of Independence, that being celebrated as 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav'.
It has been conceptualised, designed, produced and choreographed under the Centre's 'Make in India' initiative.
The drone show has been organised by startup 'Botlab Dynamics' and supported by the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and the department of science and technology, the ministry said.
During the show, the drones fabricated through indigenous technology will fly up with synchronised background music played during the drone show.
Martial musical tunes with Indian fervour will be the flavour of the ceremony this year. A total of 26 performances will enthral the spectators with foot-tapping music played by the bands of Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), the ministry said.
The entry band will be Massed Band playing the 'Veer Sainik' tune. This will be followed by Pipes and Drums Band, CAPF Band, Air Force Band, Naval Band, Army Military Band and Massed Bands. The principal conductor of the ceremony will be Commander Vijay Charles D'Cruz.
A number of new tunes have been added to the ceremony to celebrate 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav'. These include 'Kerala', 'Hind ki Sena' and 'Ae Mere WatanKe Logon'.
The event will come to a close with the ever-popular tune of 'Sare Jahan Se Acha'.
The Defence Ministry has included the patriotic song 'Aey Mere Watan ke Logo' in the Beating the Retreat ceremony in an effort to make the event more Indian.
The hymn 'Abide With Me' has been dropped from the event as per the details of the ceremony shared by Indian defence officials. Abide With Me was part of the ceremony held on January 29 every year as part of the culmination of the celebrations of Republic Day.
'Aey Mere Watan ke Logon' has been chosen at a time when the hostilities with the Chinese are still on after a two-year military standoff. The song had become famous after it was sung by noted playback singer Lata Mangeshkar and written by legendary lyricist Kavi Pradeep for the soldiers who laid down their lives in the 1962 war.
Another attraction in today's ceremony would be a projection mapping show to commemorate 75 years of the country's independence. The show of around 3-4 minutes duration will be showcased on the walls of North and South Block before the end of the ceremony.
Meanwhile, Delhi Police has fortified areas in and around Rajpath with multi-layer security, facial recognition systems and more than 1,000 CCTVs in view of the republic day celebrations.
Vijay Chowk has been closed for general traffic on Saturday from 2 pm to 9:30 pm in view of the Beating the Retreat Ceremony.
As per a traffic advisory from Delhi Traffic Police, traffic will be closed between the following stretches from 2:00 pm to 9:30 pm on January 29 in view of the event: Rafi Marg between Roundabout Sunehri Masjid and Roundabout Krishi Bhawan; Raisina Road from Roundabout Krishi Bhawan towards Vijay Chowk; Beyond Roundabout Dara Shikoh Road; Roundabout Krishna Menon Marg; Roundabout Sunehri Masjid towards Vijay Chowk and Rajpath between Vijay Chowk and 'C' Hexagon.
'Beating the Retreat' is a centuries-old military tradition dating from the days when troops disengaged from the battle at sunset. As soon as the buglers sounded the retreat, the troops ceased fighting, sheathed their arms and withdrew from the battlefield. It is for this reason that the custom of standing still during the sounding of retreat has been retained to this day. Colours and standards are cased and flags lowered at retreats.
Drumbeats recall the days when troops, billeted in towns and cities, were recalled to their quarters at an appointed time in the evening. Based on these military traditions, the 'Beating the Retreat' ceremony creates a mood of nostalgia of the times gone by.