The main celebrations of Republic Day are held in the form of a colourful parade near India Gate in Delhi. The parade showcasing India s military might and cultural diversity covers a 8 km route, starting from the Rashtrapati Bhavan through the picturesque Rajpath down to India Gate before winding up at the historic Red Fort in Old Delhi.
The events of the day begin with the Prime Minister laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti - India Gate. He then drives up to the central enclosure and awaits the arrival of the President and a Chief Guest of the occasion who is normally a Head of other Country.
On his arrival the Hon’ble President meets the dignitaries present and unfurls the National Flag. Following this the National Anthem is played with a 21-gun salute to the National Flag. After this a brief investiture ceremony takes place during which the President presents India s top gallantry awards, the Param Veer Chakra, the Veer Chakra and the Maha Veer Chakra to the outstanding soldiers from the defense services.
After this, four helicopters from the armed forces fly past the parade area showering rose petals on the audience. Each chopper carries a flag - the first being the Indian flag and the other three the flags of the Army, the Navy, and the Indian Air Force.
The march past begins immediately after the fly past. The President, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, takes the salute of the mechanised, mounted and marching contingents of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Paramilitary forces, Police and the National Cadet Corps.
After the march past comes the cultural extravaganza consisting of floats presented by the various states and performances by school children. After the floats, the bravery awards winning children from all over the country enter on elephants.
A spectacular fly-past by Air Force and Naval aircraft rounds off this not-to-be missed experience. The parade is followed by a pageant of spectacular displays from the different states of the country. These moving exhibits depict scenes of activities of people in those states and the music and songs of that particular state accompany each display. Each display brings out the diversity and richness of the culture of India and the whole show lends a festive air to the occasion.
No other country in the world can parade so many ethnically different people in splendid uniforms as India s Armed Forces. But they are all united in their proven loyalty to the Government elected by the people and in their proud traditions and legendary gallantry.