Wagah Border Crossing - India to Pakistan
This is the only border crossing between India and Pakistan’s 3000 kilometre long border. Crossable by both foot your own vehicle, this border crossing is between Lahore (Wagah) on Pakistan’s side and Amritsar (Attari) on the Indian side. Both cites are around 30kms away from the border crossing gate. The border stays open daily for international travellers crossing, and is open during holidays for everyone else. The times that the border is open are; Summer (April to October) 08:30 to 14:30 hours and Winter (October to March) 09:00 to 15:00 hours. While it’s known as an intense border because of the relationship between these two nations, the procedure to cross from one side to the other is very simple and easy compared to what you might expect. The total process to cross the border, including immigration on both sides, might take 2 hours at most. It’s a good idea to go early, check out from your hotel at 8am from Lahore or Amritsar.
Crossing from Indian side: (with vehicle)
There are a couple of check points where you have to show your passport and have your details entered. These include entering the border crossing compound, the immigration check (Passport stamped, you have to fill in an immigration form and they will scan your luggage here too). Immigration to the border crossing gate is a two minutes ride. Here again you will have to show your passport twice on both sides of the gate, and if you have a carnet you will need to sign a form. Crossing into Pakistan may take an hour, depending on how many people are crossing at the same time with you.
After crossing the border into Pakistan, the Pakistan Rangers will direct you to the immigration section. There you need to fill out an arrival card. You need to mention the address where you are going to stay in Lahore, and their phone number. Mostly they don’t check your bags on the Pakistan side. After Immigration, you can go straight to exit the border area towards Lahore. They might stop you after immigration to show your passport at exit of the border area.
The Indian side does a pretty thorough search of all luggage.
The crossing process is slower on India side
Due to differing time zones, India is 30 minutes ahead of Pakistan, hence the India border closes 30 minutes before the Pakistan border.
Crossing from Pakistan side: (with vehicle)
As you are coming from Lahore and entering the border area for crossing, there are two check points before the actual border where they want to see your passport and sometimes check your bags. After that, leaving the country is very simple and fast. The immigration will be on your right side and they have a small waiting area there. It’s good to go early in the morning as Pakistani people are not early risers. If you cross the border early in the morning as they open the border crossing, there will be no queues. Customs and getting carnet papers stamped is a bit of a process- multiple forms, signatures, bike checks and finally the stamps. Now you are ready to cross into India.
Crossing on foot:
The cheapest way is to take a Bus from Amritsar to Wagah Border. The ticket is 35 INR (the bus will drop you at Attari which is 3kms away, so you have get a cycle rickshaw from Attari to the border). A taxi will cost around 800 INR from Amritsar to the border.
After Immigration, you can find tuk tuks in the parking area. They mostly charge 800-1000PKR to drop you to Lahore at your destination. If you are crossing from Pakistan to India, the best option is Uber or Careem, which might cost you 500-800PKR. Another option is to get a tuk tuk from the road, bargain with them and get him to agree to 500-800PKR. Unfortunately there is no proper local transport service that goes to the Wagah border. You can try to go to either UET, Shalamar garden or Batapur, where you can easily find a motorcycle rickshaw which will drop you at the Wagah border.
Wagah Border Flag ceremony:
The lowering flag ceremony is a daily military practice which the security forces of India and Pakistan have jointly followed since 1959. Both sides have a stadium, everyday thousands of people come before sunset to see this ceremony. It is one of the famous tourist attractions for international travellers who visit Lahore. Experiencing the patriotic actions of both nations for their country and armed forces literally feels like you are entering in a sporting event, it’s pretty crazy right? Ice creams, chips, cold drinks and popcorn are all for sale. Loud national songs will be playing on both sides of the border and people cheering at their soldiers. It’s a pretty unique experience which you might not have experienced in your life before.
The ceremony starts around 5pm each day, but can change according to when the sunset is. It’s good to reach the border an hour and a half before the ceremony gets started to avoid any potential complications.