Beating Retreat: Creating nostalgia of times gone by

New Delhi: The Beating Retreat ceremony, a centuries old military tradition dating from the days when troops disengaged from battle at sunset, officially denoted the end of Republic Day festivities.


Over 1,000 drones, dazzling in different colors, lit up the sky over the Lutyens’ Delhi during the ceremony.

The ceremony was held in the presence of President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The drone light show continued for around 10 minutes involving around 1,000 drones fabricated through indigenous technology.

A synchronised background music was also played during the drone show.

Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh said it was a world record created by India by flying 1,000 drones during the ceremony.

“Proud that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India created a record of flying 1,000 drones to mark #BeatingRetreat. Must compliment #StartUp “Botlab”, supported by Union Ministry of Science & Technology, for completing the task in 6 months to place India at 4th position after China, Russia & UK,” Singh said in a tweet.

During the 10-minute show, over 1,000 drones, in different formations along with a background voice, showcased a series of extravagant sunset troop manoeuvres during the ceremony.

A view of the illuminated Rashtrapati Bhavan, South and North Block in New Delhi.

Every year, the ceremony is conducted on the evening of January 29, the third day after the Republic Day and is organized by the Defence Ministry.

The ceremony was started in 1955 and has been a hallmark of Republic Day celebrations ever since.

However, this military ceremony dates back to 17th century England when it was first used to recall nearby patrolling units to their castle.

Originally, Beating Retreat was known as watch setting and was initiated at sunset by the firing of a single round from the evening gun.

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.

Based on these military traditions, ‘Beating Retreat’ ceremony creates a mood of nostalgia of the times gone by.

The Beating Retreat ceremony underway at Vijay Chowk in New Delhi.

Image courtesy of (PIB)

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