The 64th Republic day of India
India’s Republic Day:
If you are visiting anywhere in India on January 26, you can experience the colorful parades and excitement of the country’s national holiday. Many say it is one of the greatest shows on earth, showcasing India’s tribal traditions and cultures in all their diversity.
The national holiday marks the anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic, on Basant Panchmi. In 1929, the Indian National Congress had resolved to work for the establishment of a sovereign Republic, a goal that was finally realized on January 26, 1950, when India became a democratic republic and its constitution went into effect.
Beautiful Indian Flag
Although Republic Day is celebrated nationwide, the grandest parade is held in New Delhi, the national capital of India. The parade route centers on the Rajpath, or King’s Way, a broad avenue with the Presidential residence at one end. The handsome red sandstone palace, called Rashtrapati Bhavan (“The House of the President”), stands on a low hill flanked by government buildings of the same masonry.
There are many more government buildings lining a lovely grassy mall that stretches to the All-India War Memorial. Along the mall are large reflecting pools, but they are covered over on January 26, and many rows of wooden bleachers placed on them. These seats are some of the best places to view the parade, so reserved seats are highly prized.
On the lawn in front of one of the bleachers are chairs for special guests and diplomats from foreign countries including the president, who sits under a gold umbrella as passing military and naval units salute.
Around and behind the president, family groups jam the stands, and the green lawns are covered with mats and rugs to sit upon.Every window of the buildings facing the route used to be crowded with spectators.
Troops of red-coated horsemen wear turbans of gold cloth. Many elephants plod along, their trunks painted with flowers, gilded howdahs on their blanketed backs. The camel corps from the desert region of Bikaner troops by, the humped animals walking in perfect rhythm. Riders sit straight and tall and rein in the camels so sharply that their muzzles point into the air. Soldiers and sailors also march in perfect rank. The main attraction of the parades are the display of the guns,tanks,rockets,missiles,bombs etc by Indian forces.
Boys and girls in scouting uniforms keep time behind lively bands. Then come the floats representing all the states of the Republic of India, each brilliantly colored and decorated to illustrate the crops, industries, geography, art and dances of that state. Dancers compete for the honor of representing their local area in the celebration. Performers come from all parts of the country to Delhi to ride on the floats in their stunning dancing costumes. Over the following few days, these dancers compete in a folk festival at a nearby stadium.
At twilight, army bands in bright uniforms march and play near the president’s home to honor a free India, and in many places fireworks splash against the sky. A streak of jet planes from the India Air Force, leaving a trail of colored smoke, traditionally marks the end of the festivities. The usually private gardens of the palace are open to the public for a week or so after the festival.
On this day, celebrations are also held in all the state capitals, with the state governors reviewing a military parade and taking the salute of the troops.
Everywhere are street vendors with all kinds of tasty food, like crispy fried pappadums, sweet pickles, vegetables spiced with curry and peppers and thick sweet puddings. For the kids, there are trinkets, balloons and sticky sweets. It’s all wonderfully, gloriously noisy and colorful.
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