Soulful tunes and foot-tapping drumbeats rent the air today as curtains came down on the Republic Day celebrations with the Beating the Retreat ceremony, where bands from Delhi Police and Central Armed Police Forces performed for the first time.
The tri-services military band, Indian classical instruments Sinfonietta and Jazz Symphonic Orchestra added flavour to the ceremony which wound up with the poignant tunes of “Abide With Me”.
This year, 15 military bands, 18 pipes and drums bands from regimental centres and battalions participated in the ceremony. Besides, one band each of Indian Navy and Indian Air Force was also part of the event.
The boisterous drumming by the Naval band coupled with unique moves and a cheerful flourish, evoked spontaneous cheers from the audience including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was seen tapping his fingers on the arm of his chair.
President Pranab Mukherjee, the chief guest at the function and the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, arrived in the historic six horses-driven carriage which was used by the Viceroy during the British rule.
His arrival was sounded by trumpeters, buglers and echo buglers followed by the national anthem.
The band members, in their red, olive green, orange and navy blue uniforms, played as the tunes blended into each other for an hour before the flag was lowered amid retreat by buglers.
As North Block, South Block, Parliament House and Rashtrapati Bhavan lit up in unison, the resplendent sight was greeted by a collective gasp from the audience.
Vice President Hamid Ansari accompanied by his wife Salma, Prime Minister Modi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Ministers Manohar Parrikar and Rajnath Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and several other dignitaries were present on the occasion.