India will enter its 70th year of the republic in an atmosphere marked by celebrations far and wide. A symbol of the nation's adoption of a constitution after gaining independence from the British rule, the day is close to the hearts of all Indians. Bound by the Himalayas to the north and tapering off into the Indian Ocean in the south, India's kaleidoscopic variety and rich cultural heritage are on display at this momentous event. Each year celebrations occur at a grand scale in the national capital with eye-catching performances by the Army, Navy, and the Air Force at the Republic Day Parade. Here's what to expect:
A little peak into the past
The parade has been a long lasting tradition and is one of the most anticipated events of the year. Each year it delivers something new and spectacular and this year it will be no different. This occasion not just puts on display the military might of our country, but also its unrivalled diversity and culture. It marks a culmination of our pasts and offers a tiny glimpse into our future.
What to expect
The day will kick off with Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating the National War Memorial near the India Gate to honour the sacrifices of the soldiers at our borders. The excitement this year is unparalleled to others since 2019 marks the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. Hence, the main event will see 17 tableaux from states and 6 from the ministries that have been shortlisted under the theme "Gandhi". Furthermore, common people and students are honoured with national awards, such as Maha Veer Chakra, Ashok Chakra, Param Veer Chakra and Veer Chakra to commemorate their bravery, exemplary work and performances.
Where to get tickets
Though, watching the installations on your TV screens while sipping a cup of chai might seem ideal, we implore you to watch it live from the stands. In a spell-binding experience, observe the carefully crafted mementoes from the state come together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle to create harmony. The tickets for this highly popular parade are available till January 25. Just a fair caution, the process of procuring tickets can be tedious. Important things to remember while purchasing them is that only a certain number of tickets are allocated to each ticket counter per day and there are restrictions on the number of tickets an individual can buy. Most importantly, do not forget to carry a government ID on you otherwise, you will definitely miss out on tickets.
Surprisingly, the tickets are relatively cheap with unreserved seats costing a mere INR 20 or INR 100. But, I must warn you that if you do acquire an unreserved seat, you must make your way to the ground really early as these seats are distributed on a first-come basis. While the INR 100 tickets offer a better view than its cheaper alternative, one ID can only get you two tickets. The reserved seats, on the contrary, are a slight strain on your wallet priced at INR 500, but they guarantee the best seats in the venue with a clear view of the action. Carry multiple IDs if you want more than one reserved seat as one ID gets you only one ticket. On the day of the event, you will not be allowed to carry any accessible inside so leave your wallets and phones in your car. The only thing left to do now is to enjoy a glorious Republic Day.
Ticket Counter Locations and Timings
There are several outlets from where you can purchase your tickets.
- North Block Roundabout
- Sena Bhawan (Gate 2)
- Pragati Maidan (Gate 1 at Bhairon Road)
- Jantar Mantar (Main Gate)
- Shastri Bhawan (near Gate 3)
- Jamnagar House (opposite India Gate)
- Red Fort (inside August 15 Park and opposite Jain Temple)
- Parliament House Reception Office, a special counter for Members of Parliament.
The counters are open daily from 10.00 AM to 12.30 PM and 2.00 PM to 4.30 PM. One counter in particular, the one at Sena Bhawan, will be open till 7.00 PM between the January 23 and January 25 though it is advised you don’t wait till then to get your tickets. It might be challenging to acquire tickets on the morning of January 23 due to the ongoing dress rehearsals.
Not in Delhi? Not a Problem!
If you aren't in Delhi, then attending the parade at India Gate can be problematic, but worry not. Each state has its own unique take on this historic day. In Kolkata, an extensive military parade displaying the nation's striking military might takes place along the Red Road in front of Fort William in Kolkata's Maidan. All the way in Chennai, a ceremonial parade takes place at the gorgeous Marina Beach with the rising sun setting up a stunning backdrop. At the financial capital of the country Mumbai, a special parade organised by the state police force takes place in Shivaji Park in Dadar.