Changing of guard ceremony not to be held on February 16

New Delhi, Feb 14 (ANI): The ceremonial "Changing of Guards" at Rashtrapati Bhavan will not be held on February 16 due to rehearsals of President Pranab Mukherjee's address to both the Houses of Parliament.

Guard Mounting, or Changing the Guard, refers to a formal ceremony in which sentries providing ceremonial guard duties at important institutions are relieved by a new batch of sentries. The ceremonies are often elaborate and precisely choreographed.

The Changing the Guard is generally held every Saturday at 8 a.m. in the summer and at 10 a.m. in the winter.

The old and new guard consists of a troop from the President's Body Guard (PBG) and another platoon from one of the numerous regiments of the Indian Army. A military band also would be present as an accompaniment.

When the New Guard is formed up between the Dominion columns of North Block, sentries are nominated and their officers inspect the respective guards, as the band plays 'Sammaan Guard' (The Honour Guard).

Men of the President's Bodyguard consist of the old warrior classes of the Rajputs, Sikhs and the Jats. Recruitment standards are strict and the minimum height is six feet.

After the inspection is over, a formal march commences with the band playing "Sher-E-Jawan" (Tiger of a soldier), into the Forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The New Guard forms up along with the Old Guard and awaits the formal salutation of "Salami Shastra" (Present Arms) by the latter to the former to formally salute it and signify readiness for change over.

Accompanied by the tune "Robinson" handing over of key takes place the Junior Commissioned Officer of the Old and New Guard patrol, symbolizing responsibility of commanders during changeover.

Sentries of the Old Guard rejoin and the Junior Commissioned Officers return to their posts.

The Old Guard marches off to the tune "Saare Jahan Se Achcha" (Better than any nation).

The New Guard that assumes charge pays compliments and the balance of the New Guard marches off along with band playing "Amar Jawan" (Immortal Soldier). (ANI)

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