The historic Presidential buggy today made a comeback, after a year’s break, with President Pranab Mukherjee arriving in it to attend the Beating the Retreat ceremony.
Three decades after its discontinuation at public functions due to security reasons, the buggy was used at the ceremony in 2014. However, last year the President had arrived in his limousine.
Mukherjee was cheered as the wheels of the open gold-plated carriage rolled down the Raisina hill, making its way past hundreds of spectators who gathered to witness the colourful event.
Mukherjee, the chief guest of the function and the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, reciprocated the greetings with his customary wave at the audience.
He was received by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chiefs of the three forces.
The armoured Limousine, followed the buggy to its path to Vijay Chowk from Rashtrapati Bhavan accompanied by the President’s Bodyguards, a regiment with horses carrying out ceremonial duties for the President.
The six-horse driven carriage was used by the Viceroy during the British rule. After Independence, it has remained with the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The Beating the Retreat ceremony which takes place on Vijay Chowk on Rajpath on January 29, marks the end of Republic Day celebrations.
Almost 32 years ago, former President late Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed had used the buggy to reach the exit gate of Rashtrapati Bhavan from where he used to travel in car to attend the ceremony.
An open horse-driven buggy was seen as a security threat by security agencies then, following which the traditional carriage was replaced by bullet-proof cars.