Anandpur Sahib Celebrating Hola Mohalla | India Tourist Spots | Places to visit in India
There are many countries in the world, far bigger than India like USA, Russia, China, Canada and Australia. China even has a much bigger population. But no country on this planet celebrates life, its diversity and its various colors in such a fast and furious way as India.
One of the major festivals in India is Holi, the great festival of colors, which commemorates the victory of good over evil. It is celebrated as the Spring Festival in March around Purnima (full moon night) in the Hindu lunar month Phalgun. Although the main theme and legend is the same around the country, but the style and substance of festivities differ greatly from region to region. This year, Holi is being celebrated on 16 and 17 March, 2014.
One of the most attractive festivities is at Anandpur Sahib in the north Indian state of Punjab known as Hola Mohalla. Instead of the use of traditional colored powder and water, the Hola Mohalla displays breathtaking display of Sikh bravery through mock skirmishes using real swords, knives, axes and sticks. The small town of Anandpur Sahib, or the Holy City of Bliss, located 83 kms north of state capital Chandigarh, is celebrated as the native place of Khalsa (Sikh Brotherhood) and its Gurudwara is one of the holiest of the Sikh shrines.
The Hola Mohalla fair at this time evokes the heroic tradition of the dominant local community of Sikhs, and its blood filled history. This martial custom was originally initiated by the tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh way back in 1701 CE. While founding the Khalsa panth (warrior clan) to fight Mughal inroads in the early 18th century, Guru Gobind Singh instituted the tradition of Hola Mohalla to promote Sikh valor and to put on display the innate bravery and to highlight the regalia in Sikhism. This 300 year old tradition still survives with all its hues, shades, ambience and pluck.
During Hola Mohalla, instead of being greeted by a spray of colored powder (gulaal) and water, a visitor is treated to a colorful demonstration of mind-boggling physical dexterity by Sikh young men colorfully attired in flowing blue and bright orange robes, triple riding horses and camels bedecked in battle-finery and war regalia. The various tournaments comprising of wrestling, mock sword fights, acrobatic military exercises and various other martial arts, besides turban tying.
The bare back horse riding could leave a visitor dumbfounded when he witnesses a single rider simultaneously riding two or three horses at breakneck speed, with his hands in the air!