Holi gets this joyful name in the state of Punjab.
festival is celebrated in an entirely different manner, it's meaning and
significance also shifts a little here.
Hola Mohalla is actually an annual fair that is organised in a large scale
at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab on the day following the festival of Holi.
Practise of holding a fair of this kind was initiated by Guru Gobind Singh,
the tenth Sikh guru. Purpose of the fair was to physically strengthen the
Sikh community by holding military exercises and mock battles.
The festival is celebrated for three consecutive days,
members of Sikh community display their physical strength by performing
dare-devil acts like bareback horse-riding, standing erect on two speeding
horses, Gatka (mock encounters), tent pegging etc. This is followed by music
and poetry competition to lighten the charged up atmosphere.
A number of durbars are also held where Sri Guru Granth Sahib is present
and kirtan and religious lectures take place. This helps strengthening the
soul of community. On the last day a long procession, led by Panj Pyaras,
starts from Takth 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 Takth.
For people visiting Anandpur Sahib, langars (voluntary community kitchens)
are organized by the local people as a part of sewa (community service). Raw
materials like wheat flour, rice, vegetables, milk and sugar is provided by
the villagers living nearby. Women volunteer to cook and others take part in
cleaning the utensils. Traditional cuisine is served to the pilgrims who eat
while sitting in rows on the ground.