The ceremony which marks the conclusion of Republic Day celebrations, saw the bands from the three Armed services in their colourful ensembles playing tunes like ‘Sam Bahadur’, ‘Surya’ and ‘Sare Jahan se Achcha’.
President Pratibha Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi attended the ceremony that saw 35 bands from the Army, Navy and Air Force playing solemn military tunes.
President Patil, the chief guest of the function, arrived from Rashtrapati Bhawan at Vijay Chowk, where her arrival was sounded by trumpeters, 38 buglers and 38 echo buglers followed by playing of National Anthem.
The band members, in their reds, greens and navy blues played the tunes for an hour before the national flag was lowered and the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Parliament House, the North and South Blocks along with other official buildings in Raisina Hills lit up.
The first tune to be played was ‘Sam Bahadur’ composed by L B Gurung, named after 1971 war hero Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw. Army’s 15 Massed Pipes and Drums Bands also played ‘Surya’, a quick march tune; ‘Sky Boat Song’, a slow march tune; ‘Pipers Cave’, another quick march tune; ‘The Marques of Huntley’, a strathspey tune; ‘Jock Wilsons’, a reel tune and ‘Highland Laddie’, a quick march tune.
The military bands of Air Force and Navy followed the Massed Pipes and Drums Bands of the Army, and played five tunes — ‘Ocean’s Splendour’, ‘Bhartiya Nau Sena Sky Hawks’, ‘Swantatra Bharat ake Shaan’, ‘Nocturnal Cry’ and ‘Subroto’.
The grand ceremony performed ahead of the sunset was attended by a large audience amidst elaborate security and traffic arrangements.
Out of the 35 bands from Army, Navy and Air Force performing at the ceremony, 20 were military bands while 15 were of pipes and drums. Navy and Air Force contributed four bands each, while the rest 27 bands were from the Army.
The massed military bands of the Indian Army also played ‘Hanste Lushai’, ‘Gangotri’, ‘Abhinandan’, ‘Dhola re Dhola’ and ‘Giuri Raj Song’.
All the massed military bands then played the ‘Gulmarg’ and ‘Abide with me’ before ‘Sare Jahan se Achha’ was rendered to mark the end of the ceremony.
As the tricolour was lowered, and the bands retreated the corridors of power were lit up in magnificent lights bringing the 60th Republic Day celebrations to a conclusion.