68 years of the parade, in photos

By Anand Katakam

January 26, 2017

The first Republic Day parade was held at Lady Irwin stadium, now Dhyan Chand Stadium. Rajendra Prasad, India’s first President, presided over it.

Since 1951, the parade switched to its current route that takes it through Rajpath to the Red Fort.

The parade used to go via Connaught Place. In 2002, it started going through Tilak Marg.

Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi attended 38 of the 68 parades so far. Indira Gandhi has attended 18.

A show of arms: “Vijayanta” tanks -- the first army tanks to be made in India -- salute President V.V. Giri in 1972. This tank was used in the 1971 war against Pakistan.

Flypast: The English Electric Canberra fighter bombers fly past the capital in 1964. The “flypast” is an aerial salute by the Indian Air Force, performed at each year’s parade.

The women’s contingent of the Central Reserve Police Force, India’s largest such force, is led by Sub Inspector Ravi Kala in 1989. It’s one of the few all-women groups at the parade.

It takes little over 90 minutes for the parade to pass through Rajpath. Crowds flank the grand procession for a glimpse.

Floats representing different states’ cultural icons are a big attraction. A single “tableaux” takes nearly two months to build.

India has hosted several foreign leaders and dignitaries as chief guests at the parade. Pakistani leaders attended two parades - Governor General Ghulam Muhammad was chief guest in 1955, and Food and Agriculture Minister Rana Abdul Hamid in 1965.

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President Obama, the first and only US president to attend the parade, inspects the guard of honour in 2015.

France has been hosted five times, more than any other country. President Jacque Chirac alone was invited twice.

This year, the chief guest is Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

This is India’s sixty-eighth Republic Day.

Credits

Web Production by Abhinash Jha

Research by Ashutosh Sapru, Vaneet Kumar Sharma, Poonam Dhiman and Sandeep Kumar

Photo archive research by Sanjay Malik

SOURCES: Photo Division/DPR Defense, Hindustan Times Photo Archive, Getty Images and Open Street Maps