Rashtrapati Bhavan to host 'common man'

Rashtrapati Bhavan is all set to host 200 public visitors every Saturday at its forecourt to witness the ceremonial ‘Change of Guard’ conducted in precision by smartly dressed Armymen and caparisoned horses.

The ceremony entails a series of military traditions, from bugles and bands to the horse-riding President’s Body Guards (PBG), will have a new look as the drill will be conducted in the backdrop of the majestic dome of the Presidential House.  

“We have decided to lift all restrictions with regard to the change of guard ceremony. The changes have been made on the instructions of president Pranab Mukherjee who is very particular about the fact that this place should be open and accessible to the common man,” the President’s press secretary Venu Rajamony told reporters. During winters, the ceremony will start at 10am every Saturday, he said.

Lasting about 30 minutes, visitors can witness PBGs emerging from behind the tall Jaipur column amid the brass band notes of A R Rehman composed ‘Maa Tujhe Salaam’. The brass band will also play some of the best known patriotic songs like ‘Sare Jahan Se Achcha’ with interludes of military tunes and the ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ lalkaar (war cry) made by the troops. As the new guard take position alongside the old one, the audience will have moments to regale in this tradition which has been continuing since 2007.

The retreat of the guards is completed with the National anthem being played by the Army band. The elegant military drill, which will be conducted by specially chosen men from the 28 Madras battalion of the Army, will showcase the rhythmic harmony of the powerful PBG horses with the band.

The clank of accoutrements, of both the smartly dressed men and ornamented horses, compiled with the thud of the horseshoe and the clear stomp of Napoleon boots makes the ceremony an audio-visual delight.

The current PBG (28 Madras), which is based in the Rashtrapati Bhavan for a period of three years, has arrived here after completing its task at the LoC in J&K. PBG accompanies the President every time he is out for his ceremonial duties.

Comments (+)