The ceremony, which marked the end of Republic Day celebrations, also witnessed many firsts.
For instance, it was the first time in over 70 years that Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite hymn ‘Abide With Me’ did not echo at the Vijay Chowk.
Beating Retreat ceremony: Delhi sky dazzles with 1,000 drones
<p>A number of new tunes were added to the ceremony to celebrate ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’. </p>
Instead, it was replaced by the popular patriotic song ‘Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon’, which was written by Kavi Pradeep to commemorate the supreme sacrifice made by Indian soldiers during the 1962 Indo-China war.
The ceremony also witnessed a dazzling drone show, which lasted for around 10 minutes along with a synchronised background music.
The 10-minute show showcased government achievements through creative formations in the sky.
Delhi: 1000 Made in India drones make different formations as part of the Beating Retreat ceremony at Vijay Chowk https://t.co/3XGnlQYLmo
— The Times Of India (@timesofindia) 1643462536000
A thousand aircraft flew in formation in the night skies, flashing the saffron, white and green of the national flag, before rearranging themselves into a silhouette of independence hero Mahatma Gandhi.
Watch India’s biggest drone show displays spectacular formations with 1,000 drones at the #BeatingRetreat ceremony… https://t.co/y59z5RwjEQ
— DD News (@DDNewslive) 1643462089000
Botlab Dynamics, led by an IIT alumni, was the Indian startup behind the drone show.
A projection mapping show to commemorate 75 years of independence on the walls of North Block and South Block, added colours to the ambience.
The projection briefly narrated India’s freedom struggle and its journey since Independence.
Foot-tapping music by the bands of Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) filled the air. They also stood in various formations.
The entry band played the ‘Veer Sainik’ tune, followed by Pipes & Drums Band, CAPF Band, Air Force Band, Naval Band, Army Military Band and Massed Bands.
Commander Vijay Charles D’Cruz was the principal conductor of the ceremony.
This year’s ceremony was conceptualised, designed, produced and choreographed under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Army chief Manoj Mukund Naravane, Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar and Air Force chief Air Marshal V R Chaudhari and various other dignitaries were present at the ceremony.
A centuries-old military tradition, Beating the Retreat dates back to the days when troops disengaged from a battle at sunset. As soon as the buglers sounded the retreat, the troops ceased fighting, sheathed their arms and withdrew from the battlefield.
The custom of standing still during the sounding of retreat has been retained to this day. Colours and standards are cased and flags lowered at retreats.
And drumbeats recall the days when troops, billeted in towns and cities, were recalled to their quarters at an appointed time in the evening.
(With inputs from agencies)
Watch Beating Retreat ceremony: 1,000 drones light up sky at Delhi’s Vijay Chowk