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Wagah (or Wagha) is a border town straddling the line between Pakistan and India, 29 km from the town of Lahore on the Pakistani side and 27 km from Amritsar on the Indian side. This is the only crossing point between Pakistan and India that is regularly open to foreigners.

Get in[edit]

Wagah border (Indian side)

The closest significant town to Wagah from the Indian side is Amritsar, Punjab. Also close is Lahore on the Pakistani side.

By train[edit]

The Samjhauta Express from Delhi to Lahore passes through Wagah. The last station on the Indian side is Attari. It runs Tuesdays and Fridays from Delhi.

By road[edit]

When driving from Islamabad, it should take at minimum 4.5 hours.

From Lahore Station, take a bus, or taxi. Minibus No.4 leaves from outside Lahore Railway Station every 15 minutes (~US$0.20), while a taxi should cost 1000PKR. The trip takes around half an hour.

From Amritsar, Wagah is about 45 minutes away by car. Taxis cost 1000INR through your hotel Arora Travels. There are public buses to Attari station, from where you can continue the last 3 km to the border by cyclerickshaw.

Most tourists can take a taxi through their hotels for a round trip, which includes the waiting time at Wagah. As of Jan 09, a typical fare for such a trip from Amritsar is about Rs. 800 (US $17). The fare for auto is Rs.400.

Get around[edit]

The omnipresent BSF

If you're planning on crossing the border, you should aim to get there as early as possible. As of 2014, the border is open every day from 10:00 to 15:30.(winter time). Border formalities can take anywhere from 30 minutes to over two hours, and you will need to arrange a visa before you arrive. If you are an Indian, your Pakistan visa should clearly state that you are entering "by foot" for you to be able to walk across the border. There are several checks by the BSF (on the Indian side) and the Rangers (on the Pakistan side) before you reach the Immigration and Customs on either side. But it is a well oiled process and if you have the right visa and answer all the questions about the reasons for your visit, you should have no problem.

Regular buses or taxis are not allowed into the no-man's land between the countries, so unless you're on one of the few deluxe international buses, you'll have to walk across the 200 m between the border posts yourself. Porters (blue coats for the Indians, green coats for the Pakistanis) can carry your belongings for Indian Rupees 200 (from the Indian side to the border or vice-versa) and Pakistan Rupees 300 (from the border to Pakistan side or vice-versa).There is a taxi stand on the Indian side of the border and you can get a taxi from there. The Pakistan side taxi stand is about one kilometre away but there is a train on tyres which can ferry you to the stand.

See[edit][add listing]

The Main Event

There is daily flag raising and lowering ceremony at Wagah Border, done with fascinating pomp and ceremony that involves lots of tall soldiers in massive turbans goose-stepping about and slamming gates. Both the Indian and Pakistani border forces do this and it has become a tradition for people from both sides gather and see this. Both sides synchronise their parade and the entire event is meant to create a feel-good/patriotic fervour amongst the crowd. It is called the beating retreat ceremony.

As of Jan 2009, the flag lowering ceremony which happens around 16:15 everyday has become the main event for tourists. In addition, there is now a short cultural programme also done by local folk dancers (Bhangra) for the waiting crowd before the flag lowering. Please take note that a peak crowd of upto 2000+ people can assemble on the Indian side on weekends/long weekends/public holidays. The crowd consists of both tourists & locals. The noise and atmosphere of the assembled crowds on both sides of the border is similar to that of a sporting match and very entertaining.

The border gates have a visitor gallery on each side, basically concrete steps created around the border main road. This allows most people in the crowd to get a seat but it is not uncommon to see up to 500-1000 people standing at the periphery. There are metal fences to help direct and control the crowds in and out of the seating areas.

Ideally, one should reach the border gates by 15:30 to get some seating if you're going on a rush day.

The seating area is as follows:

  • VIP seating - closest to the gates and requires a special pass which can be made from the BSF station near the Amritsar bypass road a couple of days in advance.
  • Foreign tourists - a section, after the VIP area, reserved for for foreign nationals (passport has to be produced). Foreigners of both sexes are kept together in the same area after going through the separated security lines.
  • Ladies exclusive - only women and small children are allowed. A little further from the gates (about 80 m away)
  • General seating - tends to get very crowded and congested during rush days. Occasional pushing/jostling may happen. Depending on gender distribution two of these areas (north and south of the road) may be assigned accordingly

Cellphones, Cameras (any kind), men's wallets are allowed. No covered bags (including ladies purses & handbags) are allowed inside the visitor areas. However, border personnel allow carrying of clear plastic bags with few snacks, water, children's food etc. The restrictions are usually dependent on the crowd and perceived security alertness on that day.

For tourists coming in to see the ceremony, note that the taxis/cars need to be parked about 500m away from the entry gates to the border area. You will need to walk in and reach the visitor gallery. Stay to the left side until you reach the grandstands.

Do not bring any bags! Bags of all sizes are not allowed in and there are no cloaking facilities. Cameras are ok, but leave the camera bag at home. Security is tight, you will be searched twice. Cigarettes and lighters are confiscated.

Be prepared for minor traffic jams when the ceremony has finished as up to 200-300 vehicles try and exit around the same time.

  • There are no tickets to see this event, it is free for viewing for anyone on the Indian side as of Jan 09.
  • As of March 2011 the border apparently closes at 18:30. The flag lowering ceremony starts at 5:30 (and lasts around one hour), but you should be there in advance. Gates open at 16:30 at the Pakistan border (tickets at 10 INR), and there is no need to be there before on a normal day. The Indian part however seems to fill up more quickly so it is a good idea to be there in advance. However, it is not advisable to go on hot weekend days.
  • Please note that sun sets towards the Pakistan side and becomes unbearable to stand from the India side during summers. There are no cover in the seating area on Indian side resulting a hot and sweaty time. Carry caps and plenty of water.
  • There is no crowd management on the India side by BSF, resulting in extreme chaos and dense pushy crowd around the entrance gate. Once the entrance gate is opened, stampede like situation arises for a while. Not advisable to go with small children. Such situation usually arise on weekends.
  • There is a separate queue for women on the Indian side. Females are also seated separately. Since phones do not work in this area, or have patchy connectivity, couples might face a tough time staying in contact.

Do (On The Pakistani Side)[edit]

When you have crossed the gate between the two countries and are on the Pakistani side, you can relax in the nearby attractive Jallo Park, or enjoy in Sozo Water Park.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • You can buy some snacks/drinks at the entry gate and also along the roadside as you are walking the 500 or so metres to the seating area.
  • Lot of local boys sell DVDs of the ceremony, selling for about Rs. 20 ( US $0.3). Be careful of pickpockets.

Eat[edit][add listing]

For those who get there early with hunger theres a great restaurant about 1km before the border called "Sarhad". They serve Amritsari and Lahori food with some great truck art as decoration and the bathrooms are clean! Lot of people go there just to get a feel of the ambience and food

There is an official tourist center, called "Aman Umeed" at the entry gate. It is a nice clean facility with bathrooms etc and has comfortable seating, although food options are very limited inside.

However, there are 2-3 large local food stalls outside the gate opposite the tourist center which serve food, offer packaged snacks and soft drinks. You can take these inside when you watch the ceremony.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Water Bottles are not allowed after the checking point of entry to Wagah border. So don't carry them from the car/autos. If necessary, buy them at the stalls just near the gate.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • PTDC Motel Wahgah, Wahgah border (next to immigrations), [1]. checkin: 12:00; checkout: 12:00. Small 4 room hotel run by Pakistan Tourism Development 30.  edit


Note that cellphones may not work here, as calls/SMSs are jammed. There are jammers at wagah, so no mobile phone service

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