As we drove through Punjab for our next dentations, we stop and started to talk to some friendly local people. They invaded us into there home. This was an unexpected and wonderful experience.
This is one of the great advantages of using a car with driver.
Just returned from India with conflicting information for our trips.We arrived in the heat of the day at Waghar , the actual flag change over commences at Sunset , thus it is not worth the queue in direct sun from 16.00 hrs ,as the arenea is easy to enter once people have seated and guards will ensure you a seat . We booked a room on arrival at the Golden Temple very cheap , basic but bath tub and bed /fan fully locable door.We actually slept under the arches surrounding the Temple ' great experience'on a blanket , thus we saw the bible being put to bed , and was woken at 4-00 am with the tiles and areas being washed down.Then into Amritsar town ' Brothers cafe' for breakfast. Dont travel any other way to Amritsar than train.depart Delhi approx 07-20am stay one night to see border catch train back approx 16-00 just good time to see all.
This ceremony right at the border between India and Pakistan (the only official transit point between the 2 country) can be a highlight of your trip in Punjab (besides the Golden temple). I wouldn't like to repeat the experiences my fellow travelers have written down before me. I can only confirm their correctness and EMPHASIZE that attending the closing of border ceremony is indeed an exceptionally enchanting experience.
Some additional info:
1) Attending the ceremony is free.
2) Taxi from Amritsar should cost about 400.- Rs incl. waiting time (return journey). Autorickshaws are only a little cheaper.
3) The ceremony takes place every day (incl. weekends) Weekends can be overcrowded, so go on a weekday if possible.
4) If you arrive at the border around 4 o'clock you will have time to sit around at a small roadside cafe where even some of the locals will pour down a beer (Rs. 100.-) or two to strengthen their enthusiasm. You can watch them or follow them. These places are not licensed of course but they don't make too much fuss about it. At least, not like in Pakistan.
5) You can get a very cheap (Rs. 200.-) DVD (playing time is more than an hour) which contains scenes from the border ceremony, the Golden temple and some temples from the other side (Pakistan) as well. It is a good deal and don't worry: you can play the DVDs even on a European DVD player.
6) If you're lucky and ask one of the lot of soldiers responsible for keeping the order, as a white westerner you'll be driven to the VIP sector where it is much easier (and closer) to watch the details of the ceremony.
Every night at sunset, the border between India & Pakistan is closed for the night. The ceremony is worth seeing, it's a display of showmanship. The soldiers from each side try to show up the other. It's become such an attraction that grandstands have been built on both sides of the border.
The final part of the ceremony is the lowering of the flags, which is done painfully slow, because neither nations wants the other's flag to be higher, which would indicate superiority......
The border is about 30 km West of Amritsar. Try to get there around 4pm, and enjoy a tea before ceremony.
The international border between India and Pakistan. The pomp and pageantry of the Beating Retreat and the Change of Guard within handshaking distance of the Indian and Pakistani forces makes for a most charming spectacle.
Wagah, an army outpost on Indo-Pak border - between Amritsar and Lahore, is an elaborate complex of buildings, roads and barriers on both sides. The daily highlight is the evening "Beating the Retreat" ceremony. Soldiers from both countries march in perfect drill, going through the steps of bringing down their respective national flags. As the sun goes down, nationalistic fervour rises and lights are switched on marking the end of the day amidst thunderous applause.
Golden Temple - Don't forget to cover your head with hankerchief or small cloth and carry tower if you want to take dip in holy pond surrounded by temple. AHh.. also try free Langar (Supper) offered to all visitors for free :)