This is a three day Sikh festival and is none other than the Punjab version of Holi. This festival is celebrated in a totally different and unique way and starts on the second day of the Lunar month of Chett which coincides with the day right after Holi which takes place on the first day of Chett.

The term ‘Hola’ is a Sanskrit word that is derived from the term ‘Holi’ which is the Hindu spring festival. Hola Mohalla is an age old festival that dates back to the 18th century when Guru Gobind Singh who was the last of the ten Sikh Gurus laid the foundation for this.

He created an event that would showcase the martial art skills of the Sikhs and allow them to host mock wars and battles.

Holla Mohalla is a sort of an annual community gathering for the Sikhs that take place in various places most popular of which are Anandpur Sahib and Golden Temple, Amritsar where thousands of devotees assemble every year to celebrate this festival.

Customs And Celebration
There is a great and large annual fair held at Anandpur Sahid during Hola Mohalla that continues for three consecutive days. This town also boasts of having the second most important Sikh Shrine. It was here that Guru Gobind Singh had baptized five men into the Sikh faith and founded the Khalsa Panth which is considered to the highest level of attaining spirituality by the Sikhs.

In recent times, this festival hosts a variety of activities such as different ways of displaying strength through fights and mock battles. There is also a special military style procession which takes starts from Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib on this day. During the three day affair, members of the Sikh community take part in dare devil and brave acts like horseback fights, standing on speeding horse’s backs, mock head on battles called Gatka, tent pegging etc.

Along with these, there are also light hearted events like musical performances and poetry recitals. People also listen to devotional songs and ‘Kirtans’. There are various large Durbars where religious lectures are given to cleanse and enlighten the members of the community. It’s on the last day that the procession is held which is led by Panj Pyaras and starts from Takht which is one of the five Sikh religious seats mentioned before and goes through major gurdwaras like Lohgarh Sahib, Mata Jitoji, Qila Anandgarh and ends at the Takht.

Visitors of Anandpur Sahib during this festival sit together in queues known as ‘Pangats’  and eat vegetarian food prepared by the voluntary community kitchens known as ‘Langars’. In order to make the food, ingredients like wheat, flour, vegetables, rice, milk, sugar etc. are donated by the villagers. Women voluntarily take part in the cooking of the food and cleaning of the utensils. Traditional vegetarian food is served to the visiting pilgrims. All this is done as a part of ‘Sewa’ which is the community service of the Sikhs.