Saturday's Change of Guard ceremony cancelled due to state mourning

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New Delhi : In the wake of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's demise, the Change of Guard ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan has been cancelled on Saturday, a statement from President Ram Nath Kovind's office said on Friday.

The Change of Guard ceremony is a military tradition in which guards and sentries at palaces, forts and defence establishments change periodically to enable a fresh body of troops to take charge.

The ceremony has been revamped and relocated to make it more visually appealing and public friendly. An equestrian display by the Presidents' Bodyguard (PBG) in their ceremonial regalia has been added and the venue has been shifted to the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan, with easier public access.

The Change of Guard ceremony is open to the public.

Held on every Saturday and Sunday, the 30-minute ceremony commences with the PBG troops, astride their well-groomed steeds advancing from behind the Jaipur Column to the tunes played by the Army Brass Band.

Thereafter, the Parade Commander marches in, on whose 'word of command' the guard of 8th Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (Siachen), marches in.

After inspection, the new guard takes position along the old guard and both the guards exchange the national salute. The new guard then takes over the duties of guards and sentries.