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Raisina Hill: Kaleidoscopic lights replace incandescent glory

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
At the end of the Beating Retreat ceremony today, the iconic Raisina Hill complex did not break into a blaze of incandescent glory, but instead it was a riot of kaleidoscopic lights dazzling the majestic buildings.

In a break from tradition, the imposing Rashtrapti Bhawan, and the twin North Block and South Block were bathed in a dynamic LED display, evoking a different aura of the landscape.

"Every year, we are used to seeing the countless bulbs lighting up brilliantly towards the end of the Retreat ceremony, and people would let out a huge cheer. This time, its a new lighting and hence that hurrah reaction was not quite there," a security personnel on duty, who did not wish to be named, said.

The Beating Retreat ceremony is similar to an annual pilgrimage for many Delhiiites and some visitors even come from nearby places, just to see the dazzling lights, but this year, they were in for a colourful surprise.

In the Rashtrapati Bhawan complex, the central dome towered over the historic building, was bathed in tricolour pattern, the facade in dynamic white, while the iconic Jaipur Column was standing in all blue, evoking a patriotic fervour.

The two Blocks flanking the steeped road leading to the main gate of the President's Estate, wore a multi-coloured hue -- pink, blue, green, yellow, red -- to the accompaniment of instrumental music pieces.

"I attended the event for the first time. I brought my DSLR, only to capture the dazzling display of light at the end. The light scheme is also good but the bulbs create a magical aura, And, static lighting makes for a better photography too," Abhishek Ranjan, who lives in south Delhi, said.

Incidentally, the neighbouring buildings, like the Rail Bhawan, Udyog Bhawan, Sena Bhawan, Krishi Bhawan, Shahtri Bhawan, among other places, still carried the traditional incandescent bulb lighting.

Last October, the Central Public Works Department had launched a dynamic lighting system for the facade of the two Blocks, displaying a wide range of themes with up to 16 million colour combinations.

The iconic buildings are traditionally illuminated on eight select days through the year -- including Republic Day and Independence Day - with static lighting. This system covered an area of 16,750 sqm.

The new dynamic facade lighting, which saves energy, covers an area of 21,450 sqm, and has been on display on North Block and South Block since October, but today, it was a lavish visual treat along with rich music, to mark the grand occasion.

The Beating Retreat ceremony is held at Vijay Chowk every year to mark the culmination of Republic Day celebrations.

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First Published: Jan 29 2018 | 10:20 PM IST

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