Every year, we celebrate our Independence Day on 15th August. On this day throughout the country, we mark the occasion by hoisting our national flag. After hoisting the flag, our Prime Minister addresses the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort in New Delhi. The Prime Minister’s speech often reflects on the prevailing condition of the nation along with the achievements in the past year and the plans for the future. The Prime Minister also pays tribute to the freedom fighters who toiled for years to make India free. Post-flag-hoisting, school children from different states perform cultural activities, which is one of the main attractions.

This year, the Independence Day is on a Thursday and it is a great opportunity for all to make it a long weekend by taking a day off on Friday and join the festivities happening across different parts of the country. For instance, in Bangalore, you can witness the Flower Show at Lalbagh Gardens or you can go to Kerala and see the iconic Nehru Boat Race at Alleppey.

In the northern and central cities of India, the day is celebrated by flying kites. People show their patriotism towards the country by decorating their homes with the national flag. Indians living outside India also celebrate mark the day with parades and pageants.

Here’s how you can make the most of the long weekend this Independence Day:

1. Fly Kite in Delhi

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Head to the Red Fort where the Prime Minister hoists the tricolour, followed by a 21-gun salute. You’ll feel a sense of admiration as the national anthem is sung. Delhi has a major role to play in contributing to the national passion and obsession with kite flying that people all over the country share. There is a special kite flying festival that is held in Delhi to commemorate the passion and enthusiasm for kite flying. The venue of the festival is near Palika bazaar at Cannaught Place.

2. Lal Bagh Flower Show, Bangalore

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Celebrate Independence Day at Bengaluru’s very own horticultural hub, Lalbagh Garden. The garden has contributed significantly to science and botany and is quite important historically, making it the perfect place to spend Independence Day. Every year there’s a world-class flower show that attracts folks from across the city. You’ll be treated to a visual extravaganza of flowers in all possible colours and flower-decked installations with artistically arranged displays. This is the perfect place for nature enthusiasts to feast their eyes on a wide variety of plant species. For those looking to just get away from the traffic and noise, it’s the perfect sanctuary for peace.

3. Nehru Boat Race

The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is the premier snake boat races in Kerala. It is held on the second Saturday of August every year and draws a massive crowd. People gather in large numbers to watch the 100 ft long boats compete against each other to the tune of old boat songs. Punnamada Lake is the location for the race where contestants line up to battle it out for the trophy.

The story behind this water regatta getting its name goes back to the visit of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1952. He was so enchanted by the sight of the majestic snake boats that he leapt onto one of the snake boats himself, ignoring his security cover. Later on in the year, he would donate a silver trophy in the form of a snake boat as a gift for the memories of the time he spent there. Hence the event was later named after Nehru.