Witness the beating retreat ceremony at Sadqi: Located just 14km from Fazilka town, Sadqi village on the India-Pakistan border is the third joint check-post, after Wagah in Amritsar and Hussainiwala in Ferozepur, where the retreat ceremony is performed every evening by the Indian Border Security Force and the Pakistan Rangers. The cheering crowd, patriotic songs and the enthusiasm of the soldiers will have you at the edge of your seat throughout. Once the ceremony is over, you can also cross over to the Pakistani side for a little bit to click photographs.
Recently I read an article about Sadqi being the third place to host joint retreat ceremony after Wagah-Attari and Husainwala. I visited this place two years before and at that time too, it was an amazing experience. Sadqi, a beautiful village about 13 km from Fazilka in Punjab is a check point on the India-Pakistan border now all set to be the third of joint check points (JCP) to hold a joint retreat ceremony between the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel and the Pakistan Rangers.When I went to this place, the ceremony involved just the lowering of flags on each side of the border, and a ceremonial march unlike the one in Wagah and Hussainwala, where the personnel cross the zero line, and shake hands before lowering the flag. So here, the gates weren't opened and there were no handshakes and zero line crossing before the lowering of flags.Why Sadqi Is Different?As Sukhdeep Kaur rightly puts it, “Sadqi is no Wagah. Here the ceremony happens just where the fields end, a quaint show just before sundown. There are no ceremonial gates that are slammed shut – Pakistan has no gate while the Indian one lies closed with a barbed fence. The BSF jawans, perform their drill near the barbed fence, while the Pakistan Rangers are positioned on a hillock that’s painted in the camouflage colours of green and grey.”Also, unlike the Wagah and the Hussainwala, Sadqi got a checkpost for its gates, an open-air-like theatre and a music system. The tourists who usually visit the Sadqi retreat also visit the Asafwala War Memorial which was built to pay homage to the martyrs of 1971 Indo-Pak war.This is my visit to Sadqi Ceremony, in pictures.