Changing of the Guard
Change of Guard's Ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan every Saturday
A 'Change of Guard' ceremony was unveiled at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on December 8, 2012 to the media. This ceremony will be held every Saturday and will be open to the public who will only have to produce a photo ID at the place of entry to Rashtrapati Bhavan from Gate No. 2 near Prime Minister's Office.
Change of Guard is a military tradition whose origins are lost in antiquity. From time immemorial, guards and sentries at palaces, forts and defence establishments change periodically to enable a fresh body of troops take charge.
The change of Guard ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan was first opened to the public in 2007. After the assumption of office by President Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the ceremony has been revamped and relocated to make it more visually appealing and public friendly. An equestrian display by the Presidents' Body Guard (PBG) in their ceremonial regalia has been added and the venue has been shifted to the Forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan, with easier public access.
The equestrian display presents the horse and man in ceremonial regalia in harmony with the music of a military brass band. The 30 minute ceremony commences with the PBG troops, astride their caparisoned, sleekly muscled, powerful and well groomed steeds advancing from behind the Jaipur column to the tune of 'Maa Tujhe Salaam' played by the Army Brass Band. The Army Guard contingent then marches in and the new guard replaces the old guard.
The day's ceremony ends with an equestrian display by the PBG before they ride away towards the Rashtrapati Bhavan and playing of the National Anthem.
While the PBG is permanently based in the President's Estate, the Army Guard Battalion currently the 8th Battalion JAMMU & KASHMIR LIGHT INFANTRY (BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE) is selected from among the elite infantry regiments of the Army and is turned over every three years.
President's Body Guard
The President's Bodyguard, raised in 1773, is the senior most Regiment of the Indian Army. It is a Regiment with horses carrying out ceremonial duties for The President. Its officers and men are excellent horsemen, capable tank men and paratroopers. Since Independence, it has seen action in 1962 at Chushul, in 1965 in the Western Theatre, in 1988 in Sri Lanka. The men of the Bodyguard have also served in UN Operations in Somalia, Angola, Sierra Leone and Sudan.
A detachment of the President's Body Guard also serves on the highest and coldest battlefield in the world, the Siachen Glacier. The physical standards for recruitment into this elite Regiment are very exacting, six feet being the minimum height for enrolment. The horses also have to be more than 15.2 hands. The men carry both, a lance with a red and white cavalry pennant and a Cavalry sabre. The horses are adorned with shabracks, throat ornaments and white brow bands.