Do you know the story how the famous city of Punjab, Muktsar, got its name? Let me tell you this beautiful story of valour and sacrifice that not only resulted in naming Khidrana as Muktsar but also is the reason why Maghi Jod Mela is commemorated every year at Mukstar.
Maghi Jod Mela is celebrated in the memory of forty Sikh martyrs who are also called Chalis Mukte. These forty brave men had once deserted Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji under pressure from Mughals at Anandpur Sahib. They had done so by giving a Bedahwa, the letter disclaiming them being a Sikh of the Guru. But then they ended up meeting with Mai Bhago Ji who made them realize their mistake and helped them take the corrective action.
The forty brave men rejoined Guru Sahib and stood firm in their battle against Mughals which was led by Wazir Khan in 1705 December.
This battle was fought near the dhab or lake of Khidrana, also called Isharsar, on 29 December 1705 against a Mughal force who was desperately chasing Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. These brave 40 men stood like a wall and gave time to Guru Sahib to escape the army.
History narrates that when Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji was collecting the dead bodies for cremation, He found one of them named Mahan Singh still clinging to life. Guru Sahib took him in his embrace, and sat down with him. Mahan Singh tearful and exhausted, requested Guru Sahib to forgive them and destroy the Bedahwa.
Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji blessed the martyr and owing to Guru Sahib’s blessings, these martyrs were known as Chali Mukte, the Forty Immortals.
So because of this story, Khidrana came to known as Muktsar which means ‘the Pool of Liberation.’
Every year, pilgrims visit Muktsar on Maghi and take a dip in the sacred water tanks of Muktsar. Maghi mela is held at Muktsar Sahib every year to pay obeisance to the forty Sikh martyrs.