or simply Hola is a Sikh event, which takes place on the first of the lunar month of Chet, which usually falls in March.
- Mahalia, derived from the Arabic root hal (alighting, descending), is a Punjabi word that implies an organized procession in the form of an army column accompanied by war drums and standard-bearers, and proceeding to a given location or moving in state from one place to another.
- This custom originated in the time of and by Guru Gobind Singh (1666–1708) who held the first march at Anandpur on Chet vadi 1, 1757 Bk (22 February 1701).
- Holi, when people playfully sprinkle colored powders, dry or mixed in water, on each other the Guru made Hola Mahalla an occasion for the Sikhs (and many Hindus at the time who gave sons to Sikh families) to demonstrate their martial skills in simulated battles.
- This was probably done forestalling a grimmer struggle against the imperial power and channelizing the energy of folks to a more useful activity.
- Hola Mahalla became an annual event held in an open ground near Holgarh, a Fort across the rivulet Charan Ganga, northwest of Anandpur sahib..
- Furthermore, Holla Mohalla stands for “mock fight”. The festival is marked by Sikhs demonstrating martial arts in the form of simulated battles that are accompanied by war-drums and standard bearers. This annual festival is celebrated with great zeal and gusto in the north-eastern region of Punjab in Anandpur Sahib and Kiratpur Sahib.
- It is observed on the day after Holi and is celebrated across three days. The festival is largely celebrated in Anandpur Sahib and Kiratpur Sahib towns in north-eastern Punjab.
- The first mock fight took place in February 1701 in Anandpur Sahib town. Since then, the festival is celebrated with grand splendor and grandeur displaying mock battles, weapons and kirtans. This three-day festival also includes exhibitions, music and poetry competitions. People are seen performing dangerous and daring feats, such as Gatka, tent pegging, bareback horse-riding, and several other acts of bravery. Thousands of people visit Gurdwaras at Anandpur Sahib to participate in prayers and witness the festivities. Holla Mohalla is a reminder that enjoyment of life should go hand in hand with the responsibilities to society and constant effort to improve oneself and contribute to helping others and bettering life for others.
Necessary things you should know if you’re traveling to Holla mohalla (Ananthpur sahib)
1. Where to stay
Hotel Holy City
Hotel Park Plaza
2. Duration of the festival 3 days 14th march to 17th march 2014
grandeur displaying mock battles, weapons and kirtans. This three-day festival also includes exhibitions, music and poetry competitions The other sports activities on Holla Mohalla include Archery, Kabaddi, Weight-Lifting, Cycling, Football, Acrobatics and twisting an iron-rod by placing it on Adam’s apple, etc.
4. Top Restaurants
• Pahalwan Dhaba ; SH 22,Anandpur Sahib panjab. ; M – 0188 723 27450188 723 2745 ; Food Serve : vegetarian and non vegetarian.
• Lucky Dhaba ; SH 22 Anandpur Sahib, Punjab 140118. ; M – 0188 723 26440188 723 2644 ; Food Serve : INDIAN FOOD VEG.& NON-VEG.,MUGHLAI,CHINESE.
5. What to Buy in Anandpur Sahib
Tourists can buy religious supplies associated with Sikh spirituality and religion, such as khandas, karas, swords, and uniquely-shaped daggers.
6. What to Eat and Drink in Anandpur Sahib
There are many restaurants and hotels that serve the local delicacies, but tourists prefer eating at one of the many road side dhabas that Punjab is famous for. You can get authentic, tasty Punjab cuisine prepared mostly in mustard oil
7. Places to visit-
Anandpur Sahib is a city of gurudwara and forts. There are 33 big and small gurudwara in Anandpur and Keeratpur, all historically connected to the visits and deeds of the Sikh gurus.
8. Why is it celebrated?
It reminds the people of valour and defence preparedness, concepts dear to the Tenth Guru who was at that time battling the Mughal empire. On this three-day festival mock battles are held followed by music and poetry competitions. The Nihang Singhs (members of the Sikh army that was founded by Guru Govind Singh) carry on the martial tradition with mock battles and displays of swordsmanship and horse riding. They perform daring feats, such as Gatka (mock encounters), tent pegging, bareback horse-riding and standing erect on two speeding horses. There are also a number of durbars where Sri Guru Granth Sahib is present and kirtan and religious lectures take place. Sporting shining swords, long spears, conical turbans, the Nihangs present a fierce picture as they gallop past on horseback spraying colors on people.
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 pilgrim who eat while sitting in rows on the ground
Colorful processions are organized on Holla Mohalla. Sikhs, especially the Nihangs, dressed in their traditional martial costumes, display their skills in archery, sword fencing, horse riding and shooting. Battles are enacted and ancient cannons fired to focus on the training required for war.
9. About the festival?
Sikh mela, or festival, established in the 16th century by Guru Gobind Singh for the practice of defence skills, and to discourage Sikhs from celebrating the Hindu festival of Holi. It is held in February/March. The emphasis today is on wrestling, fencing, and archery tournaments, with music, poetry, and fairground attractions. The mela is celebrated mainly at Anandpur in the Punjab, the venue of the first Hola Mohalla. Visitors may visit local shrines and gurdwaras (Sikh temples). The festival ends with a procession behind the gurdwara flags
10. Best for – Photography/ history/culture /local talent/ adventure/Backpacking
11. Best suggested itinerary- download itinerary
12. Local activities-
locals, like to size-up the skill and power of their animals by performing Bullock cart racing, Hound-Racing, Bull-Fighting, Cock-Fighting, Pigeon Fights.