Anandpur Sahib is a sanctified city of the Sikhs. To many people, it is as important as Amritsar although it is a distant city. It is situated in the Rupnagar district of Punjab. It is 81.3 KM away from Chandigarh.
Anandpur Sahib can be found on the Himalayas, its bottom spurs, bordered by the Sutlej river. It is the popularly called the city of bliss. The city owes its establishment, 1664, to Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib, the ninth Guru of the Sikh religion.
While the rest of India celebrate the festival of colours as Holi, it is a distinct and fascinating sight in the Anandpur Sahib.
The city celebrates Hola Mohalla. What is it?
Hola Mohalla is a rollicking event, indispensable to Sikhism. It is a tradition which is followed with utmost diligence by the Sikhs. It was started by the 10th Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh. It takes place in the Bikrami month, Phalgun.
Sometimes, Hola Mohalla is seen coinciding with Holi. However, mostly it follows Holi. In former days, the event would get organised to honour the ancient Sikh warriors and display the battling skills of people.
Now, Hola Mohalla is a week-long fair. The word Hola is a masculine form of Holi which is thought of as feminine. Mohalla a blend of Arabic and Punjabi word which means an organised procession like an army march. As history holds, despots ruled Hindustan. Unable to fight the dictators, innocent people submitted themselves blindly in the hands of destiny. People were condemned to servitude. Ignorant, they accepted their state oppression. The people chose to play Holi with colours without protesting for their rights.
When things reached the brink, Sri Guru Gobind Singh decided to fight back. He invigorated the Sikhs. He asked them to attain their true responsibility in order to protect their homeland.
It was in 1700 Guru Gobind Sahib started the first procession in Anandpur. He chose Hola Mohalla as the perfect occasion to showcase the valour within the Sikhs. He organised mock fights. The fights meant no harm but depicted the quality of fearlessness and the ability to fight the wrong in Sikhs. Individuals came forward to exhibit their skills of Martial arts, fighting with swords, wrestling, mace fights, horse riding and more.
Another interesting sight in Hola Mohalla is the use of Chakari. It is a huge ring made of plastic. It has many tiny balls within, which are interconnected with the same plastic lines. In the former days, a Chakari was made of metal. It was dangerous. Sikhs use to twirl the Chakari in the face of enemies. Nowadays, it is made of plastic.
If you think that Hola Mohalla is only about mock battles, then it is not so. There is literature mastery as well. In Hola Mohalla, the mock battles are followed by poetry competitions and music. The event also sees traditional dances like 'Bhangra'. People get absorbed in the music and dance of this event.
It is because Hola Mohalla is an event of mock battles and valour, some display weapons as a symbol of gallantry. It is a collection of ancient weapons which were used by the former Sikh warriors. The display also contains weapons of the Ghatkas.
Langar in Sikhism means a free kitchen, a communal one. It also means a communal meal. Sikhs believe in equality. Therefore, every gurdwara has langar where anybody and everybody visiting the shrine is welcomed for a free meal.
This similar concept is followed in Hola Mohalla too. People are welcomed for free meals Hola Mohalla. One great attraction is sugarcane langar. Punjab being an agricultural state, sugarcane is extremely popular. In Hola Mohalla, people are found relishing the sweet juicy sugarcane.
The Sikhs wear gulal or other vibrant colours as a symbol of reverence which they have for their religion especially the Khalsaclan. In Hola Mohalla, you will find individuals absorbed in colours which they perceive as the colours of heroism.
If you want to experience an intriguing Holi in 2022, then set off to Anandpur Sahib. You will get to see the Hola Mohalla, which is an awe-inspiring event!