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Delhi: Drones light up sky, military bands perform at ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony

This year, some new activities including a drone show and projection mapping were introduced at the ceremony.

Beating Retreat'Projection mapping' using lights on the walls of north and south blocks. (Express photo)

The ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony, which marks the formal end of Republic Day celebrations, was held at Vijay Chowk in New Delhi on Saturday. The ceremony consisted of drone shows and musical performances by military bands.

What activities were held at ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony?

This year, some new activities including a drone show and projection mapping were introduced at the ceremony.

Bodyguards in attention as President Ram Nath Kovind arrives at the ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony at Vijay Chowk. (Express photo)

The novel drone was a 10-minute show, involving around 1,000 drones fabricated through indigenous technology, at the backdrop of synchronized music. This show is a ‘Make in India” initiative by a startup ‘Botlab Dynamics’, supported by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and Department of Science & Technology.

The Projection mapping show was a 3-4 minute event showcased on the walls of North and South Block before the end of the ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony.

A full dress rehearsal of the Beating the Retreat ceremony at Vijay Chowk in New Delhi on Thursday. (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

For this year, the government has dropped ‘Abide With Me’, the somber highpoint of the conclusion of the Republic Day celebrations. Penned in the pre-modern world by Henry Francis Lyte, a Scottish Anglican minister and son of a naval captain, the hymn is often sung has been a fixture in the Indian Beating Retreat ceremony since 1950. Played at dusk, this is also the last piece before the retreat buglers bring down the Indian flag.

Significance of ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony

The military tradition began in 17th century England, when King James II ordered his troops to beat drums, lower flags and organise a parade to announce the end of a day of combat.

The ceremony was then called ‘watch setting’ and took place at sunset after firing a single round from the evening gun.

Rehearsal for laser show ahead of the ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony. (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

‘Beating the Retreat’ also marks the last ceremony of the nation’s Republic Day celebrations, which started on January 23 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiling the hologram statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at India Gate.

Some sections of auto-rickshaw drivers, construction workers, safai karamcharis and frontline health workers were invited to watch the ceremony.

Delhi Traffic diversions due to the ceremony 

Due to the ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony traffic restrictions were put in place on Saturday from 2 pm to 9.30 pm. Vijay Chowk will remain closed for traffic, the Delhi Traffic Police said in an advisory. Traffic was also not allowed on Rafi Marg between Sunehri Masjid roundabout and Krishi Bhawan roundabout.

No traffic was allowed on Raisina Road from Krishi Bhawan roundabout towards Vijay Chowk, beyond Dara Shikoh Road roundabout, Krishna Menon Marg roundabout and Sunehri Masjid roundabouts towards Vijay Chowk. Traffic was restricted on Rajpath between Vijay Chowk and ‘C’ hexagon.

Metro services at Central Secretariat and Udyog Bhawan Metro stations of Line 2 will not be available from 2 pm to 6:30 pm, the DMRC had earlier said.

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Buses were diverted from their normal routes from 2 pm to 9.30 pm, the advisory said.

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