Essential Guide to India's Republic Day Parade in Delhi

Indian Soldiers Practice Ahead Of Republic Day
Daniel Berehulak/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images

When is the Republic Day Parade Held?

The main Republic Day Parade gets underway at 9.30 a.m., following the flag hoisting at 9 a.m., on January 26 each year. It runs for around three hours. A full dress rehearsal is also held a few days before the actual event.

Where is the Parade Held?

The Republic Day Parade takes places along Rajpath, in Delhi. Its route, which is more than five kilometers long, sets out from Raisina Hill near Rashtrapati Bhavan (President's Palace) and follows Rajpath past India Gate and on to the Red Fort.

What Happens at the Parade?

The Republic Day Parade kicks off with the arrival of the President of India, escorted by a pose of bodyguards on horses. The Prime Minister of India lays a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate to pay homage to those who lost their lives in war. The President raises the National flag as the National Anthem is played, and a 21-gun salute is given. The Parade is led by the three divisions of the armed forces (Army, Navy, Air Force) who showcase their strength. This includes a dramatic airshow as the parade grand finale.

India's Border Security Force "Daredevils" women motorcycle riders will perform stunts in the parade for the first time, on their 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycles.

Various Indian states are represented in the parade by floats that highlight an aspect of their culture. A special feature this year will be a float by All India Radio themed on Mann Ki Baat, its monthly flagship radio program addressed by Prime Minister Modi.

In addition, the parade will feature more than 700 students performing Kathak and folk dances of countries including Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Where to Get Tickets for the Parade?

The Republic Day Parade is a ticketed event. They go on sale a couple of weeks before the event.

    Tips for Attending the India Republic Day Parade

    Mobile phones, cameras, and all other electronic devices (including remote control car keys) are not allowed. So, do leave them behind. There is a strict security check. Try to arrive as early as possible as the area gets very congested with VIP traffic, and your vehicle will also most likely be stopped for security checks. All entrances are closed before the National Anthem starts. Do spend extra for reserved tickets. You'll get a much better spot near the stage and car parking. The morning weather in Delhi will be cold, so bring a jacket.

    Disruptions to Delhi Metro Train Schedule

    Delhi Metro services are partially disrupted due to security arrangements on January 26 for Republic Day, and January 29 for the Beating Retreat ceremony. This affects Line 2 (HUDA City Centre - Samaypur Badli), Line 3 (Noida City Center - Dwarka Sector 21), Line 4 (Yamuna Bank - Vaishali), and Line 6 (Kashmere Gate-Escorts Mujesar). Train schedules are modified and some stations remain closed. In addition, all Metro parking lots will be closed from 6 a.m. on January 25 to 2 p.m. on January 26. Check the Delhi Metro Rail website for the latest information and updates.

    India Republic Day Parades in Other Cities

    If you can't make it to the main Republic Day Parade in Delhi, there are other big events in capital cities across India. Unfortunately, Mumbai's grand Republic Day Parade, which took place along Marine Drive in 2014, returned to Shivaji Park in central Mumbai in 2015 due to road resurfacing. The state government has decided that Republic Day celebrations will remain at Shivaji Park due to security concerns.

    In Bangalore, a parade and cultural fair is held at the Field Marshal Manekshaw Parade Ground. In Kolkata, the Republic Day parade takes place along Red Road near the Maidan. In Chennai, Kamaraj Salai and Marina Beach are the venues for Republic Day celebrations.

    Beating the Retreat Ceremony

    The Republic Day Parade is followed up with a Beating the Retreat ceremony on January 29.

    It symbolizes retreat after a day on the battlefield and features performances by bands of the three wings of the Indian military -- the Army, Navy and Air Force. Tickets for the full dress rehearsal are available from the same outlets as Republic Day Parade tickets.