India celebrates its Republic Day on the 26th of January, which falls on a Saturday this year. The year 2019 marks India’s 70th Republic Day. The Constitution of India, which made the country a Sovereign, Democratic, Republic was formally adopted 69 years ago on January 26, 1950.

This year Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa will be the Chief Guest. PM Modi met the South African leader on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina. The prime minister said Ramaphosa’s visit to the country will further cement business and people-to-people ties between the two nations.

This year also marks the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi who had a special connection with South Africa. It was earlier reported that the President of the United States Donald Trump had turned down India’s invitation for the same, citing a ‘crowded calendar’.

Read the full text of Prsident Ram Nath Kovind’s address to the nation here:

Facts about the Republic Day parade

The Republic Day parade at Rajpath has the President of India, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces, taking the salute. 2019’s Republic Day parade will see women taking the forefront. This year will be the first time that a woman officer will lead the Army Services Corps in the parade. The Daredevils Motorcycle Team will include a woman officer in their team. Scripting history, 2019 will also be the first time a woman contingent of Assam Rifles will take part in the parade.

Fifty-eight tribal guests from various parts of the country, 22 tableaux of states and central government departments, and performance by school children will mark the 90-minute parade of this year’s Republic Day. Four helicopters would precede the parade commander. The lead helicopter will carry the national flag and the other three choppers would carry services flags, while the echelon aircraft would shower flower petals.

As 2019 coincides with Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th anniversary, the tableaux from different states and Union Territories this year will pay a tribute to him.

Watch the parade live here:

Play

Historical reference

After India gained independence on 15 August 1947, it did not have a permanent constitution. On 28 August 1947, a Drafting Committee was appointed to draft a permanent constitution with Dr BR Ambedkar as chairman.

Many deliberations and modifications later, members of the Assembly signed two hand-written copies of what was to be India’s constitution (one each in Hindi and English) on 24 January 1950. It was formally adopted on the 26th of January 1950. Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first president of India, began his tenure by taking the oath at Durbar Hall in the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

How to attend the Republic Day parade?

Tickets are available for the Republic Day parade at Rajpath from the 7th of January to the 25th of January every year. The tickets are available at the following locations:

  • Red Fort
  • Pragati Maidan (Gate 1)
  • Jantar Mantar (Main Gate)
  • Sena Bhawan (Gate 2)
  • Jamnagar House (opposite India Gate)    
  • Shastri Bhawan (near Gate 3)
  • North Block Roundabout
  • Parliament House Reception Office

The ticket counters are open daily from 10 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. In addition, one ticket counter at Sena Bhavan will remain open until 7 p.m. from January 23 to 25, 2019.

Ticket counters will be closed in the morning on January 23, due to the Republic Day Parade dress rehearsal. An ID proof will be required to purchase the tickets.