Friday, March 6, 2015

Hola Mohalla: Punjab's rich and colourful tradition

A day assigned for mock battles for his troops by the 10th guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, has come to be the symbol of Punjab's own rich religious and cultural tradition. The festival of 'Hola Mohalla', as it is known, takes place this weekend in this Sikh religious town.
Hola Mohalla, celebrated a day after Holi, the Hindu festival of colours, has carved out its own unique place in Punjab's and Sikh religion's calendar. The festival made its beginning around 1701 as Guru Gobind Singh wanted his troops to have mock battles to keep them battle ready.
Tens of thousands of Nihang Sikhs assemble in this town, home to Takht Keshgarh Sahib, the second holiest of Sikh shrines (after Harmandar Sahib or Golden Temple in Amritsar), every year to be part of the festival.
The shrine is famous as it was here that Guru Gobind Singh founded the 'Khalsa Panth', the modern day Sikh religion, in April 1699.
During the festivities, various sects (deras) of Nihangs go in a procession from the main gurdwara and pass through the holy town.
The procession then culminates at a stadium where the Nihang Sikhs perform 'Gatka', a traditional form of martial art in which age-old weapons and equipment are used to showcase mock battles.
"It is an amazing sight to see the Gatka performance. The festivity around the procession and the colourful atmosphere make it a great spectacle to watch," travel writer and author Puneetinder Kaur Sidhu told IANS.

with thanks : Business Standard : LINK : for complete news.

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