New Delhi | A large number of first-timers, including girls and young women, attended the 75th Republic Day parade at Kartavya Path here on Friday with 'Nari Shakti' being an overarching theme for the celebrations this year.
From Delhi to Rajasthan, they came with friends or family members to witness the landmark occasion.
Ranubha Kunwar, 28, a native of Alwar district, attended the parade wearing a traditional Rajasthani attire.
"This is the first time I have attended a Republic Day celebration in Delhi, and it was a wonderful experience. The display of 'Nari Shakti' was special for us women," she told PTI.
Kunwar said the Republic Day, besides being the 75th one, was also special for her as its chief guest French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were in Jaipur on Thursday.
Bharati Gurjar, a state civil services aspirant from Rajasthan, said she had arrived in Delhi three days ago, just to attend the parade here.
"I have come along with my younger sister, we both attended for the first time. Everything about the parade was amazing, the synchronisation in the marching contingents, the colourful tableaux and vibrant cultural performances. You can't say which aspect one liked the most as everything was great," she told PTI.
Her sister, Sunidhi Gurjar, a first-year student of Miranda House at Delhi University, was also ecstatic about attending the ceremonial event for the first time.
"India is our 'matrubhumi', motherland, and one feels a wave of patriotism here. India successfully hosted the G20 last year, we achieved the Chandrayaan feat and now with 2047 vision, we are going strong," Sunidhi said.
India celebrated its 75th Republic Day on Friday with a grand display of 'Nari Shakti', rich cultural heritage and military might comprising missiles, warplanes, surveillance gadgets and lethal weapon systems.
The Republic Day Parade at the Kartavya Path in the heart of the national capital commenced with President Droupadi Murmu taking the salute shortly after she and Macron, flanked by the Indian president's bodyguards, arrived in a 'traditional buggy'.
Many first-timers also came from Delhi and neighbouring cities such as Noida and Gurugram.
Gaurav Rawat and Ajit Kumar Shrivastava, both native of Kanpur and currently working with the Delhi Metro, were overjoyed to witness the "platinum parade".
"The display of 'Nari Shakti' was evident with so many of them leading several contingents, or being an integral part of them. Beside, the flypast and the old 'buggy' in which President Droupadi Murmu and the French president arrived at the venue were other attractions," Rawat said.
Shrivastava said every year, he watched the parade on TV or on mobile phone, but "seeing it up, close and personal was another experience".
Many among the first-timers were also those whose family members worked in the armed forces.
Tripti Shukla, a teacher, came to watch the parade along with her husband and two daughters -- Maitri, 14, and Mishti, 9. Her husband, an Army officer, was also with them.
"I got goosebumps sitting here and watching women taking up stellar roles. I will go and watch on TV later, but seeing things unfold in front of our eyes, made it special," Shukla told PTI.
For the first time, an all-women tri-services contingent marched down the Kartavya Path, reflecting the country's growing 'Nari Shakti' (women power).
In another first, the parade was heralded by more than 100 women artistes playing Indian musical instruments such as sankh, naadswaram and nagada instead of traditional military bands kick-starting the celebrations.
The Naval tableau depicted the themes 'Nari Shakti' and 'Sea Power Across the Oceans Through Indigenisation'.