A 'jugalbandi' of tabla and shehnai along with military bands rendering 'Vandemataram' mesmerised the audience at Beating Retreat ceremony today, bringing the curtains down on Republic Day celebrations.
The celebrations came to a close as the Sun went down the Raisana Hills which was then lit up after lilting martial tunes and massed pipes and drum bands reverberated the air enthalling those gathered at the function at the historic Vijay Chowk.
Rendition of 'Vandemataram' in a fusion of western and Indian classical style along with tabla and shehnai titled 'Renaissance' was the highlight of the ceremony. This was the first time that tabla and shehnai were included in the hour-long show.
The performance by the pipe and drum band members left the audience that included President Pratibha Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh enchanted.
The ceremony saw 35 bands from three armed services in their colourful ensembles playing tunes like 'Sare Jahan se Achha' penned by Iqbal and 'Abide with Me', the eternally enchanting hymn which was a favourite tune of Mahatma Gandhi.
Indian tunes were the flavour of the ceremony this year as 15 of the 22 performances have been composed by Indian musicians while just seven popular tunes by foreigners were retained, interspersed five times with 'Fanfare', a collage by buglers, and 'Drummers Call', a traditional performance by drummers.
Patil, the chief guest of the function and supreme commander of the armed forces, came from Rashtrapati Bhawan preceded by mounted presidential bodyguards at Vijay Chowk, where her arrival was sounded by 14 trumpeters, 32 buglers and 14 echo buglers followed by playing of national anthem and a tune 'Parameshwar', composed by Captain Mahendra Das NK.