Lowering of Flags ceremony at Petrapole-Benapole border


The Flag-lowering ceremony at Wagah-Attari border is well-known. But very few people know that similar ceremony is being held everyday at Indo-Bangladesh border gates at the Petrapole-Benapole border. Let us know about that ceremony from this article.

Almost all of us know about the lowering of flags ceremony held at Wagah-Attari border between Border Security Force (BSF) of India and Pakistan Rangers. This ceremony has started since 1959 and is now well-known almost all over the world. Tourists not only from every part of India and Pakistan, but also from different places of the world come everyday to watch the resplendent maneuvers of BSF and Rangers personnel in brilliant ceremonial dresses. As the border is very near to Amritsar in India and Lahore in Pakistan, this ceremony is very popular and impressive.

Very few people know that similar ceremonies are held at Mahavir-Sadqi border and Hussainiwala-Ganda Singh Wala border jointly by BSF and Rangers.



Flag-lowering ceremony at Indo-Bangladesh border

Far lesser number of people know that similar flags lowering ceremony is held everyday between BSF and Border Guards Bangladesh at Petrapole-Benapole border. This ceremony has started since 6th November, 2013. Petrapole is in Indian side and is located at North 24 Paraganas district of West Bengal. It is near to Kolkata and is the largest land custom point in Asia. Benapole is at Sharsha Upazilla in Jessore district (Zilla) of Bangladesh. Benapole is very near to Jessore, a major city of Bangladesh. This border is now known as 'Wagah of the East'.

The lowering of flags ceremony at this border post is almost similar to the ceremony held at Wagah-Attari border. The entire border area is filled with Rabindra-sangeet and Najrul-geeti to stress upon the composite Bengali culture. The microphones at both sides of the border blare patriotic songs in Bengali. The ceremony is held everyday from 4.30 p.m. to 5 p.m. At 4.30 p.m. BSF personnel in resplendent ceremonial dress and turban reach the no-mans land. The Bangladeshi Border Guards also reach the no-mans land at the same time in their ceremonial uniform. The ceremonial manoeuvre is held in perfect synchronization and precision. Before the sunset, flags of both the countries are lowered and the gates are closed. Thereafter BSF personnel return to Petrapole. On the other hand, Bangladeshi Border Guards return to Benapole.

A small comparison

If we compare the Wagah ceremony with Petrapole ceremony, we will find that the number of spectators is considerably less at Petrapole. This ceremony is not well-known even among the Bengalis of both sides. Patriotic fervour is witnessed at both sides, but the show of patriotism is much subdued and civil, unlike what we witness at Wagah border. The patriotic songs at both sides of the border are in Bengali. Otherwise, both the ceremonies are same in terms of precision, synchronisation, manoeuvre and procedure.

How to reach the border

Petrapole-Benapole border is very easily accessible from both sides. Tourists from Indian side can reach Petrapole border from Kolkata via Bongaon. Tourists from Bangladeshi side can reach Benapole border from Jessore city. Jessore is one of the four largest cities of Bangladesh.



Concluding comments

As already stated, this ceremony has started only in November, 2013. So, this has not yet been very popular. Not only that, the movement between people of West Bengal-Tripura-Assam and Bangladesh is much more than the movement of people of India and Pakistan. So, the emotional issue is less prominent in this case. Similar ceremonies can be seen at Akhaura border in Tripura and Foolbari border in North Bengal. Leaders of India and Bangladesh expect that these ceremonies would help better friendly relationship between people of both countries and improve the cross-border trade further. It is also expected that these ceremonies will become more and more popular and help tourism of both countries.


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Comments

Author: umesh14 May 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 2

A very interesting piece of information given in this article by the author. I was also not aware of this flags lowering ceremony held every day between BSF and Border Guards Bangladesh at Petrapole-Benapole border.

In my opinion, this type of ceremonies is essential to inculcate a feeling of patriotism as well as a showcase of harmonious relations with our neighbour countries. Additionally, they are a source of great amusement for the visitors here.



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