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Punjab - Travelling


Hola Moholla - Anandpur Saheb
March Trekking, Travelling and Photography Andy Rawat



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I start Late Eve from Dehi, I took bus for Ropar early morning at6 am reach ropar @ Rupnagar Railway Station at last stand. After than I tool local train to Anandpur Sahib. I reached early morning train. Various Activities that take place during the festival. I spend whole day here for Photographing the colorful Festival. India has been in the mood to celebrate Holi and Punjab is all set for the Hola Mohalla Festival. Recently, the Indian Goverment had accorded Holla Mohalla the status of a " National Festival". This custom originated in the time of and Guru Gobind Singhji (1666-1708) Who held at Anandpur in 1st March. "Hola Mohalla" stands for "mock fight" during festival, It organised in the form of army accompanied by war-drums, which moving from one gurdwara to another. There is a festival celebrated at anandpur Sahib and Muktsar as a grand affair annually in the state of Punjab referred to as Holla is held in March for 3 days. An electric atmosphere on the route from Chandigarh to Anandpur Sahib. Tractors, trolleys, bikes all are heading to witness the Holla Moholla festival. Langars in every home and people living in trucks and on the roads—that’s the scene in Anandpur Sahib on holi. And the reason is the famed three-day festival of Holla Mohalla.

Holi when people playfully sprinkle colored powders, dry or mixed in water on the each other the Guru made HOLA-MOHALLA an occasion for the Sikhs to demonstrate their martial skills in simulated battles. The members of the Sikh army was founded by Guru Gobind Singh, They Practice old martial arts, horsemanship, showcasing their daring skills in sword fighting, tent pegging, archery n' other martial skills, Gatka etc. Hola Mohalla is celebrated by Sikhs world over as 'Sikh Olympics' with competitions of swordsmanship, horse riding, Gatka (Sikh martial arts), falconry and others. People sitting together in queues and having food at langer in Gurudwaras or pangats having vegetarian food in Langar. As a gathering of Sikhs for military exercises and mock battles on the day following the festival of Holi. On the last day of Holla Mohalla, a procession is organized, in precise military style complete with war drums and standard bearers, from Takhat Sri Kesgarh Sahib, the city’s most sacred gurdwara via the city’s many other important Sikh srines, and back to the Takhat.

“Festivals promote diversity, they bring neighbors into dialogue, they increase creativity, they offer opportunities for civic pride, they improve our general psychological well-being. In short, they make cities better places to live.” – David B.
Detailed Itinerary

HISTORY

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The origin of Holla Mohalla dates back to 1757 AD. Hola Mohalla event was originated by the tenth Sikh Guru on 1st March 1757 on Chet Vadi at Anandpur. Since then, Holla Mohalla has become a full fledged event held particularly in an open field near Holgarh Fort which is located in the northwest to the town of Anandpur. Guru Sahib made Holla Mahalla an occasion for show the Skills in mock battles. It’s an annual event held in an open ground around Holgarh Fort at Anandpur sahib. The Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara celebrates the festival at a huge scale. Guru Saheb was having his fight with both the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb as well as the Hill Rajputs and he had established the Khalsa Panth. People from all the communities irrespective of their caste, creed and sex participate in the festival whole-heartedly. This lively and colorful festival is associated with displays of mock fights, weapons, exhibitions, kirtan, music and poetry competitions. Guru Sahib told his Sikhs to wake up to their responsibility and duty as Akaal Purakh Ki Fauj (the Army of the Almighty), to defend the truth and protect the society. This tradition since then got spread from Anandpur Sahib to the close by Kiratpur Sahib and further to foothills of Shivaliks and then other Gurudwaras of rest of the world.


CELEBRATION

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Holla Mohalla is celebrated to reaffirm fraternity and brotherhood. Celebrations start with morning prayers, followed by ceremonious bathing of Guru Granth Sahib with milk and water. Kirtans and recitation of religious phrases goes on continuously. Every Indian festival has its own charm, this festival has no exception to it, here people accumulate and enjoy the day with singing bhajans, competitions of archery, fencing, riding and traditional wrestling, Kabaddi, Weight-Lifting, Cycling, Football, Acrobatics and twisting an iron-rod by placing it on Adam’s apple, etc.. Tempting langars also arrangement by sewadars. Traditional cuisines are served to the pilgrims who eat while sitting in rows on the ground. The Nihang Singhs also perform daring feats, such as Gatka (mock encounters), tent pegging, bareback horse-riding and standing erect on two speeding horses. Holla Mohalla marks the New Year day, as per lunar Nanakshahi calendar of Sikhs. After this ritual, Karah Prasad is distributed. Raw materials like wheat flour, rice, vegetables, milk and sugar are provided by the villagers living nearby. At Holla Mohalla festival, one can witness people gathering in Anandpur Sahib and taking pleasure of bhajans along with participating in contests such as wrestling, fencing and archery and so on. Wrestling started as a tradition by the followers of Guru Hargobindji within boundaries of Akal Takht Sahib and it is mostly his boost that wrestling as a sport made Punjab its birth place. People participate voluntarily in the preparation and distribution of the prasad and in cleaning the utensils. Mock battles are also held followed by music, poetry and other competitions. Women volunteers take part in cooking the Prasad and also cleaning the utensils. Nihangs are the highlights, they’re dressed in most impressive attire such as in deep blue robes with saffron girdles along with high turbans with moustaches, steel rings and flowing beards, carrying spears and swords as weapons for battle. Pilgrims are offered langars as per the Sikh tradition. The festival is not only the time to rejoice, but also to restore faith in the Khalsa Panth. Recently, the Indian Goverment had accorded Holla Mohalla the status of a " National Festival".


OTHER ATTRACTIONS

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Following interesting features of this festival are :

• A large number of devotees from different parts took a holy dip in Yamuna river and paid obeisance to Guru Gobind Singh at Paonta Sahib in Sirmaur district on the occasion of Holla Mohalla. The fare takes place every year on Holi at Anandpur Saheb.

• Wrestling sport began by the followers of Guru Hargobind ji, across the boundaries of Akal Takht Sahib. Wrestling started as a tradition by the followers. Today this sport is practiced in almost 7000 villages of Punjab. Other games held during the festival are Football, Kabaddi, Weight-lifting, Cycling, Archery and Acrobatics.

• Apart from this, various small games held in Rurka Kalan, Rauni, Dhurkot and Lalto Kalan etc. Local people also participating in hound-Racing, pigeon fighting, Bullock cart racing, bull fighting and Pigeon fighting.

• The Sikh community worldwide famous for their vivaciousness and larger than life approach and same is reflected in youngsters too. Young boys were very keen on getting clicked on special demand all the time .

• Activities which are performed such as music contests. Music is regarded to be the heartbeat of the regions state of Punjab.

• Ninhang Sikhs, who are a part of the Sikh army founded by Guru Gobind Singh, exhibit their martial arts through mock battles and sword fights. They are dressed up the most impressive deep blue robes with saffron straps, high conical turbans with steel rings, beards, twisted moustaches and carrying spears and swords.

• It was a bright and colourful market had a totally different flavor and Nihang dolls and tractor toys are most popular and make the cutest feel of Punjab! The lights come on as the sun sets, and these markets appear decked up like a bride twinkling and festive.

• The langars run kitchens can be found everywhere you go and the people offering this service try to lure you to come and eat at their langar. Lunch, Breakfast, Dinner; these kitchens never sleep, and run as late as after midnight. They have special Jalebis, Pakoras with Chai for snacking, if you want a quick bite and villages who volunteer here for cooking, cleaning and serving.


HOW TO REACH

BY AIR : Anandpur Sahib does not have an airport. Nearest airport is Chandigarh Airport. (80 km).

BY ROAD : Take the NH1 out of Delhi straight past Karnal and Ambala. Head onto NH3 near Chandigarh to reach Anandpur Sahib. Anandpur Sahib situated on the Sivalik Hills in Roper District of Punjab and well connected with the rest of the country both by road. 30 km North of Rupnagar (Roper) and 30 km South of Nangal.

By TRAIN : You can easily get regular trains to Anandpur Sahib from other major cities of the country.


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Andy Rawat Very passionate about visual design. I'm enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. The point is when I see a sunset, waterfall or something, for a split second it's so great, bcoj a little bit I'm out of my brain. And I wonder if I can somehow find a way to maintain that mind stillness.
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