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Beating the Retreat Ceremony
Feb 01, 2015

The Beating the Retreat Ceremony at the Vijay Chowk on January 29th every year marks the culmination of the 4-day-long Republic Day celebrations.

This year, 15 Military Bands, 18 Pipes and Drums Bands from Regimental Centres and Battalions participated in Beating the Retreat Ceremony. Besides one each of Indian Navy and Indian Air Force band also formed part of the event.

President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several other dignitaries watched as the bands from several regiments of the armed forces played.

  • 20 of the 23 performances were composed by Indian musicians for the hour-long ceremony.

  • 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.

  • Beating the Retreat is a centuries old military tradition dating from the days when troops disengaged from 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.

  • The ceremony has emerged as an event of national pride when the Colours and Standards are paraded.

  • Drumbeats recall the days when troops, billeted in towns and cities, were recalled to their quarters at an appointed time in the evening.


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