Changing of Guards not to take place Saturday

January 29th, 2009 - 10:55 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 29 (IANS) The Changing of Guards ceremony will not take place Saturday in the wake of the death of former president R. Venkataraman, an official statement here said Thursday.A seven-day state mourning is being observed in India following Venkataraman’s demise. The former president died in Delhi Wednesday.

“In view of the state mourning being observed due to the passing away of the former president of India, R. Venkataraman, the ceremonial Changing of Guards at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, which is open to the public for viewing, shall not take place,” said the statement from the President’s Secretariat.

The Changing of the Guards ceremony takes place every morning, but on Saturday mornings a larger traditional ceremony is held.

The ceremony features the President’s Bodyguard, the Indian Army’s oldest and senior-most regiment, as well as India’s Household Calvary regiment and soldiers from the Rajputana Rifles.

Early in the morning, the sounds of martial music, marching footsteps and hoof beats float across from within Rashtrapati Bhavan. The new guard comprising a contingent of the Indian Army and mounted troops of the President’s Bodyguard accompanied by the regimental brass band emerge on to Rajpath. It is a spectacle worth watching, say those thronging at the gates of the presidential palace.

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