Drass hills lit up as Kargil victory celebrations end | india | Hindustan Times
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Drass hills lit up as Kargil victory celebrations end

india Updated: Jul 27, 2009 01:22 IST

The hills of Drass in Jammu and Kashmir were lit up on Sunday night climaxing a spectacular ceremony held here to mark the 10th anniversary of India's victory in the Kargil conflict with Pakistan.

The peaks, recaptured from Pakistani intruders, that witnessed missile firings and shellings a decade ago were lit up with torches as the darkness descended on this town near the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Kashmir.

The string of lighted dots shone like a sparkling necklace laid over the hills of Tololing and Tiger Hill in the Drass sector - the places the nation's eyes remained focused on during the bloody war to repel intruders backed by the Pakistani Army.

This was the breathtaking culmination of the two-day ceremony held in Drass to pay homage to the 527 soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice.

The evening started with a half-hour Beating Retreat in which 10 units representing different arms of the army and different parts of the country performed 10 tunes.

The units included Jammu and Kashmir regiment, Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, the Gorkha Rifles and Jat Regiment - all of whom won laurels in the Kargil war.

With drums and pipes, the smartly turned out army bandsmen started with "Kadam Kadam Badhaye Ja", a marching tune, and ended with patriotic "Sare Jahan Se Achchha Hindustan Hamara". Two all-time favourites of all Beating Retreat ceremonies across the country - the Ladakhi cradle song 'Siki Amo Le' and hymn 'Abide with Me' - were included.

The gathering that was largely composed of the families of the war heroes, surviving soldiers, leading officials of the Northern Command and people of this town at a height of over 10,000 feet, hummed along.

As the twilight made way for the night's darkness, all those gathered for the occasion moved to the War Memorial and held a candlelight vigil in memory of the heroes.