That is what troops did at sunset- they disengaged from battle, clocked off for the night, beat a retreat and so the tradition remains.
In India this is done against the backdrop of the north and south blocks of Lutyens famous Rajpath and in the distance the Rashtrapati Bhavan the presidential palace.
We sat at the bottom and looked up this splendid avenue and the magnificent buildings which were showing off their colours of red and yellow sandstone in the fading pink hue of dusk.
On the north and south blocks, the camels,standing on the ramparts, decorated and immobile as statues. In the cupolas, horsemen with stiff uniforms standing silently.
The programme- from 500pm to 600pm was a wonderful collection of marching bands, the Pipes and Drums bands, the Navy and the Air force Bands, the Military bands.
Pipes and Drums in yellows, greens, reds and blues. Coloured turbans but also flowing capes reminiscent of Scottish traditional dress but with the unmistaken flair of India.
The navy and Air force with smart, sharp and dark uniforms. They played the “Nocturnal Cry” by Capt SA Anchees NM that moved all the participants.
The Massed Bands in formation at the end played “Abide with me” and the bugle calls coming from the north and south block were eerie and wonderful.
As the light faded and the Indian flag was lowered the north and south block and the Rashtrapati Bhavan are lit up and are a sight of true wonder and beauty.