Hola Mohalla – Shining Swords reflect the brilliance of Sikhism

Let me tell you about Hola Mohalla – a festival of Courage, Hope, And Faith played amid Colours in Punjab.

Hola Mohalla is Punjab’s biggest annual fair which is celebrated every year at Anandpur Sahib immediately after Holi. A festival which epitomizes the spirit and valour of Punjab, Hola Mohalla has earned the stature of a National Festival as well in the year 1996. The festival gives pilgrims and visitors a chance to bask in the glory of Punjabi spirit, Sikh religion and Punjabi courage. It is one of those unforgettable Punjabi festivals which reflect the dedication & heroism of Punjabi community and Punjabi way of life.


History – Hola Mohalla gets celebrated in Anandpur Sahib on the day following the festival of Holi. The practice of Hola Mohalla was started by Sh Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Sikh guru. The festival is celebrated for three consecutive days; each day the participants can witness rare display of physical strength by Sikh warriors. It has been beleievd that Guru Gobind Singh rechristened the Holi festival as Hola Mohalla and used the festive occasion to indulge his forces in martial arts and the art of warfare. In those days, Guru Sahib made his Sikh warriors, Nihangs, to form two groups and engage in mock battle which was like a practice of war for them.


What all make Hola Mohalla so very special –

Three days of energy & enthusiasm; there is so much excitement you would want to be a part of.

  • Shining swords and long spears in the hands of warrior Sikhs.
  • Conical turbans and twirled-up moustaches of Nihangs
  • Daredevil acts by Guru di laadli Fauj; acts like bareback horse-riding, standing erect on two speeding horses, Gatka (mock encounters), tent pegging etc
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  • Music and Poetry competitions
  • Kirtans and Langars
  • The last day procession which is led by Panj Pyaras. This processions starts from Takht Keshgarh Sahib, one of the five Sikh religious seats, and passes through various important gurdwaras like Qila Anandgarh, Lohgarh Sahib, Mata Jitoji and terminates at the Takht


So next time, make sure to visit Sri Anandpur Sahib to cherish Hola Mohalla!


I bet you didn’t know all this about Gatka

Gatka is a a spiritual as well as a physical exercise. Gatka requires spiritual, mental and physical skills in equal proportions and enables a person to defend himself as well as others.

Recently, I had the privilege to witness State Gatka Championship held at Gurdwara Sri Damdama Sahib. Their fluency, skill and alertness was a treat for the eyes. This made me write the blog enlightening people all across the world about Gatka.

I wish to share some significant aspects of Gatka which make it more than just a martial arts.

Take a look –

Gatka originated from the times of Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib who kept two swords – Miri and Piri. But it was our Dasham Pitah Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji who emphasized on the use of weapons for self defense.

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Gatka is a a spiritual as well as a physical exercise. Gatka requires spiritual, mental and physical skills in equal proportions and enables a person to defend himself as well as others.

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Gatka is a battle-tested technique and Sikh warriors used it extensively during any battles against Mughals and other invaders of north India.

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One can notice a variety of weapons used during Gatka play ranging from swords to bamboo rods called lathi, whips, chains, and throwing weapons called chakram.

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Even though many people believe Gatka to be a martial art exclusive of Sikhs, yet, one can see Gatka transcending religious divides. Young boys and even girls of other religions, Hindus, Christians and Muslims are also learning Gatka.

Many significant festivals in Punjab like Hola Mohalla, Shaheedi Jod Mela and Baisakhi are considered incomplete without Gatka. Especially in Hola Mohalla, one can witness the awe-inspiring performances by Gatka players.

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In 2016, Gatka was recognized as a sport nationwide, thanks to the efforts put in by Gatka Federation of India.

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