If you are planning a visit to Amritsar, then you must consider visiting the India-Pakistan border at Attari-Wagah and experience the daily lowering of the flags ceremony that is held with great pomp and show.
Why attend Wagah-Attari Border ceremony
It might feel like it is a very touristy thing to do, but consider the following:
1) India and Pakistan share quite a long border but for many years, the Wagah-Attari border was the only road link between the two countries.
2) India and Pakistan share an interesting history. This is one place where they come together every day to show respect to each other.
3) Both countries share rich traditions and patriotic fervour. It is very interesting to watch each country display its patriotism.
4) You get a gentle peek into Pakistan. It was really nice standing so close to the border and watching another country on the other side of the fence. Beautiful fields, lovely people and of course lots of tourists on both sides.
Getting to Wagah-Attari Border
Depending on traffic, it takes between 45 minutes to 1 hour to reach the Attari border from Amritsar.
Timings of the Wagah-Attari Border Lowering of the Flags Ceremony
We got there around 4pm. By the time we parked, went through security check, it was about 4:30pm. We had to wait till about 6 pm for the main program to start. So, be prepared to wait.
Security at the ceremony
There are strict rules about what you can and cannot take inside. Do wear a hat if you are going in summer as it can get pretty warm.
Depending on the type of viewing ticket you are able to get, there are different seating areas. The travel agent that you work with can help you with the best options.
Snacks, water and sodas are available for purchase but options are limited.
You will have to walk a bit to reach the “ceremony” area from the parking lot (may be about 300 meters). Please be prepared as there will be lots of people heading in the same direction. No slopes though.
Getting out of the parking lot after the ceremony takes time as you can imagine. (the viewing capacity on the Indian side is said to be 25,000). Please factor that time in as well.
If you have a flight to catch, then taking the help of a travel agent might be beneficial as they will ensure you reach the airport in time.
A lot of travel agents offer a package where you can do a day trip to visit The Golden Temple in Amritsar and then attend the Wagah-Attari Border ceremony before heading to your next destination. If you are tight on time, then I would definitely recommend that option. However, if you have a night to spare, then I would recommend spending the night in Amritsar to give yourself an opportunity to explore Punjab.
Either way, enjoy yourself and experience an international border like none other!