Republic Day honors the date of 26th January 1949 when the Constitution of India came into force as the governing document of the country. It marks India’s identity as a republic nation. The Republic Day Parade refers to the ceremonious parade on Rajpath, New Delhi, held every year on the same date. The parade showcases India’s Defence Capability, Cultural and Social Heritage.

The Republic Day Parade is held every year on 26th January. A three hour program, it starts sharp at 9:30 a.m. after flag hoisting.

The Republic Day Parade starts 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 wars. The President hosts the National flag as the National Anthem is played and a 21-gun salute is given. Next, important awards like the Paramvir Chakra, Vir Chakra, Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Children’s National Bravery Award are given away by President.

The grand Republic Day Parade is led by the three divisions of the Indian Armed Forces. Nine to twelve different regiments of the Indian Army in addition to the Navy, and Air Force with their bands march past in their uniforms and official decorations. The President of India is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces, takes the salute. Twelve contingents of various para-military forces of India and other civil forces also take part. Each Indian state and Union Territory is represented by a different float that highlights an aspect of its culture. Almost 25 marching and mounted contingents, various military vehicles, 20 military bands, 30 cultural displays and 30 aircrafts in addition to cultural performers and 1200 schoolchildren are in attendance. India’s Republic Day Parade in New Delhi is the most spectacular regular parade in the world.

In 2016, French President Francois Hollande will be the Chief Guest.

The Republic Day Parade is a high security affair. From Vijay Chowk to Red Fort, the 5 kilometers distance is kept traffic free. Common people should be prepared for a long, early walk to get to their seats on time. Driving to the venue is not an option for the majority of the crowd. Nor is getting there by metro as stations near Rajpath are closed for the duration of the parade. Special invitees display a “Park & Ride” label on their vehicle to get entry into one of the many designated parking lots. Shuttle services are run till the seating venue.