Beating Retreat is a military ceremony dating to 16th century England and was first used to recall nearby patrolling units to their castle.
In India, it officially denotes the end of Republic Day festivities. It is conducted on the evening of 29 January, the third day after the Republic Day.
It is performed by the bands of the three wings of the military, the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force, and pipe bands from the Army, plus from 2016 a massed formation of bands of the Central Armed Police Forces and the Delhi Police.
The venue is Raisina Hills and an adjacent square, Vijay Chowk, flanked by the north and south block of the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President's Palace) towards the end of Rajpath.
The Chief Guest of the function is the President of India who arrives escorted by the President's Bodyguards (PBG), a cavalry unit. When the President begins to arrive, a Fanfare is sounded by the trumpeters of the Brigade of the Guards on their natural trumpets, and then the PBG commander asks the unit to give the National Salute, which is followed by the playing of the Indian National Anthem, Jana Gana Mana, by the Massed Bands, and at the same time by the unfurling of the Flag of India on the flagpole right at the Vijay Chowk.