Sword-wielding brave hearts, jousting enthusiasts, music and singing, a colourful carnival of tradition, and lots and lots of free food- this is “Holla Mohala” of festival name, held in Punjab’s annual festival of heroism, solidarity and gaiety.
Organised a day after Holi, the term Hola Mohalla denotes ‘Military Charge’, hola originating from the word halla or ‘war-cry’ and mohalla meaning ‘army column’.
The period of Guru Gobind Singh(1666-1708 AD),the tenth Sikh guru ,was beset with threat. The business of the battle was getting merciless and they felt that not just his solderies but the entire Sikh community should be equipped to defend honour.
A classic image of contemporary Hola Mohallla is the dare-devilry on horseback by charging nihangs. They people attired with electric-blue and donning massive turbans, the nihangs execute acrobatic feats such as riding two horses simultaneously, standing on the galloping mount with swords balanced vertically, double tent-pegging etc.., so effortlessly that their performance, most awaited and most quietly take an photographed.
PLAY AND PRAY
A week tey conduct event, after crowd starts building up and that place turns on festive fair. A sea of saffron and blue turbans and bright stoles dominate that space. The display of gatka, or Sikh martial arts stressing on body movement in unison with a combat weapon, is riveting. There’s excitement more at turban-typing competitions. The onlooker’s focus is at kabaddi (this is an sports game often conduct at India), physical dexterity shows where a demonstration including the pulling of tractor with one’s hair or lifting out 100 kg sand bags with the help of teeth. Langar or voluntary are making a holy kitchens have devotes for making an meals. These food feed by over a lakh people over that day of day-night. Another traditional Holo Mohalla offering is sukhnidhan, a scared martial drink, originally meant to rouse the mind for battle, prepared only by nihangs with poppy seeds, melon seeds, cardamom and black pepper, all ground to paste with a dash of cannabis.
PEEK INTO HISTORY
The newest attraction at Anandpur Sahib is Virasat-e-khalsa or Memorial complex. Inaugurated in November 2011, it’s a grand scale museum commemorating 500 years of sikh history. The son et lumiera at Quil Anandgarh Sahib gurdwara complex, depicts the history of the fort, considered among the five forts. Another attraction of the place of fort is the historic baoli that has 135 rungs leading down to this base.
FESTIVE FLURRY OF PUNJAB
During the Holo Mohalla Festival is held on during the month of March 7-9, traffic holds are not uncommon. It’s a time when the entire state seems to descend and pilgrims arrive by all modes of transport: bus, trucks, bullock carts, tractors, and so visitors by walk itself to reach the venue of hordes. The moods and colours are enthralling and make for tremendous photos. Langer service, so generously typical to Sikh religious functions, flanks the road, ensure no one get famished in that place. Getting eleventh-hour accommodation during the event will be uphill task, so book in advance for accommodation. The spirit of the fair is captured in the great outdoors and it’s advisable to wear comfortable walking shoes. Keep insect repellents and sunshades handy, besides packing in a light jacket to counter the earlier march nip at sunset.
Naina Devi is 20km far from that village, located amidst a scenic hilly terrain, its considered temple dedicated to Shakti or the invincible force as embodied in Durga/parvati etc.., which is attracting lakhs of pilgrims.
Bhakra Dam is 20km far from that village, one of the best-maintained dams in the country; it keeps River Sutlej in a check. It’s a huge reservoir, Gobind Sagar Lake, is very popular with the briders.
Spicejet, JetAirways, Jetlite and AirIndia are offers daily flights to Chandigarh from several metros in the country. From Chandigarh, Anandpur Sahip is an hour- and –half away by road.
Kissan Haeli in Anandpur Sahib offers super-deluxe and deluxe suites with modest meals available at the canteen. Bharatgarh Fort, 20 km away from Anandpur Sahib, recently opened punjab’s first heritage homestay and offers comfortable accommodation inclusive of breakfast and dinner. Nalagarh Fort Resort, located in Nalagarh is picturesqueiy nested in the Shivalik foothills and is a heritage resort, which is destination by itself.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Log on to www.punjabtourism.gov.in