The Delhi Republic Day parade is the largest and most important of the parades marking the Republic Day celebrations in India. The parade takes place every year on the 26th of January at Rajpath, New Delhi. It is the main attraction of India's Republic Day celebrations, which last for three days. The first parade was held in 1950, and it has been held every year since.

The parade marches from the Rashtrapati Bhawan along the Rajpath, to India Gate and from there to Red Fort. It opens with the unfurling of the national flag by the President of India. This is followed by marching from several regiments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, along with their bands. Tableaus from various states signifying their cultures are displayed. A beating retreat ceremony signifies the end of the parade.


From the first Republic Day parade staged at Irwin Stadium in 1950 when India’s highest wartime honour Param Vir Chakra (PVC) was awarded to four Indian braves, to Pakistani and Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) dignitaries attending the event as chief guests in the same decade, to foreign soldiers marching down Rajpath for the first time in 2016, to the traditional wreath-laying being shifted from Amar Jawan Jyoti to the National War Memorial (NWM) in 2020, India’s foremost ceremonial event has come a long way over the past 72 years.

Among the most notable parades in the past was the one in 1987, the event held in the midst of Operation Brasstacks when the Indian army moved tens of thousands of troops to the western border with Pakistan, along with armoured columns, artillery and rocket systems

The configuration of the parade, its composition and its overall flavour have evolved significantly over the decades to keep up with the times, but what has remained constant is the extraordinary sense of pride and patriotism that the majestic display of India’s military might and rich cultural heritage evokes

The parade involves a massive logistics exercise and preparations begin almost five to six months ahead of the event. The preparations involve the selection of marching contingents, weapons and equipment to be showcased and various tableaux that take part in the parade as well as readying camps where the participants are to be accommodated.

Timing is the most critical aspect of the parade. “If it’s 90 minutes, it has to be 90 minutes. The parade is planned with clockwork precision. The pace of the parade --- it may sometimes move a bit fast or a bit slow --- is constantly monitored and corrections are made in real-time. All contingencies are catered for. If a tank breaks down on Rajpath, recovery mechanisms are in place so that the parade is not obstructed,”


  • Every year, the Prime Minister/ President/ or the ruler of any nation is invited as a guest for the 26th January parade. The first parade was held on 26th January 1950, President of Indonesia Dr Sukarno was invited as a guest. However, in 1955 when the first parade was held at Rajpath, The Governor-General of Pakistan Malik Ghulam Mohammad was invited.

  • do you know that firing is not done with 21 canons for the 21 guns salute during the hoisting? Instead, 7- cannons of the Indian army, which are known as “25- Ponders” are used for the firing in 3 rounds.

  • the preparations for the parade begin in July of the previous year when all the participants are formally informed about their participation. Till August, they practice parade at their related regiment centres and reach Delhi by December. The participants have already practised for 600 hours before performing on the 26th of January formally.

  • For rehearsal for the parade of 26th January, each group covers the distance of 12 Kilometres but on the day of 26th January they cover the distance of 9 Kilometres only. Judges are seated all through the way of the parade, who judge every participating group based on 200 parameters, and based on this judgment, the “best marching group” title is awarded.

  • The most fascinating part of the event is “flypast”. Responsibility for “flypast” lies on the Western Airforce Command, which involves the participation of around 41 Aircraft. The Aircrafts involved in the parade take off from different centres of the Airforce and reach the Rajpath at a fixed time.

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