It will be an event high on protocol and ceremony whose finer details were worked at a dress rehearsal Saturday.
The kinks were ironed out for the oath-taking ceremony of the new President of India on Wednesday, down to the regal buggy ride when Pratibha Patil will move out of Rashtrapati Bhavan to make way for the nation's 13th head of state.
The exact time for the ceremony is not fixed yet. Officials are waiting for the president-elect to indicate the time for the ceremony. "The time has not been fixed yet, the president-elect will indicate the time," Archana Datta, spokesperson of Rashtrapati Bhavan, told IANS.
As per the elaborate ceremony, the president-elect and his spouse will be brought from his home to Rashtrapati Bhavan. They will meet President Patil in the study of Rashtrapati Bhavan which functions like the office.
After exchange of greetings, the president and the president-elect will sit in the president's limousine and leave the North Court of Rashtrapati Bhavan for the Forecourt. The president's house is in two sections, the North Court where the study is located, and the Forecourt.
The formal seating arrangement in the limousine is very important, "with the president-elect seated on the right side of Patil in a right-hand driven car".
In the Forecourt, the president and the elect will be taken to the saluting dais with the secretary to the president, and aide-de-Camps among other officials following behind. President Patil will take the salute with the president-elect standing to her right, said Datta.
The president's bodyguards will then sing the national anthem after which the two will be taken in the limousine to the Jaipur Column - a tall sandstone shaft in the Forecourt - where the 28 Madras Guard who are part of the President's Bodyguards will give the salute to the president. The car will then move out of Rashtrapati Bhavan through the iron gates to Gate no 5 of Parliament House for the formal swearing-in ceremony.
"From the iron gates to Gate No 5, there will be 1,000 soldiers standing - from the three services - who will give the 1,000 salute or the Hazar Salam," Datta told IANS.
At Gate No 5, at the steps of Parliament House the president will also be given a national salute by the President's BodyGuards with the president-elect standing to her right side.
Accompanying them at this point will be the Chief Justice of India (CJI) S.H. Kapadia, the ADCs, the chairman of the Rajya Sabha Hamid Ansari and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar. They will go in a procession to the Central Hall of parliament. As the procession enters the Central Hall there will be a roll of drums, which indicates the arrival of the president, and all the people will rise from their seats.
The president will occupy the chair at the centre of the dais. "Here the seating arrangement is important," said Datta. Patil will occupy the central seat and on her right will be the president-elect and the CJI, while on her left will be seated Ansari and Meira Kumar.
When Patil reaches the dais, the national anthem will be played after which everyone will take their seat. The Home Secretary R.K. Singh will then take permission of the president to read out the Election Commission notification on the name of the new president.
The national anthem will be played again, after which the CJI will administer the formal oath of office to the new president, said Datta.
Patil and the new president will then swap their seats and the new president will occupy the seat at the centre of the dais.
A 21-gun salute will follow, after which, the secretary to the president will place the oath register before the new president, who will sign on it.
The president will then read out an "acceptance address".
Then home secretary will then take permission to conclude the ceremony, after which there will be a roll of drums and the national anthem will be played.
"They will then go out in procession to Gate No 5 of parliament, and the President's Bodyguards will give the national salute. At this point, the president will be on the right and Patil on the left," she said.
They will leave in a ceremonial procession to the study of Rashtrapati Bhavan. The new president will come out in a buggy from the North Court to the Forecourt and climb on a jeep for inspection of the guard of honour by the tri-services. Afer this, he will go back to the study.
After about 45 minutes, they will leave in a buggy for a ceremony in front of the Durbar Hall where a special marquee will be erected. Patil will then take a final guard of honour.
"Everybody will then bid farewell to her, and the new president will escort her to her new residence on 2, Tughlaq Lane," she said. Patil's temporary home will be near Rahul Gandhi's 12, Tughlaq Lane house.
President Patil is hosting a special dinner for all the ministers on July 24, Datta informed.
(Ranjana Narayan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)