A different Holi: Pictures from Punjab's Hola Mohalla Festival

A different Holi: Pictures from Punjab's Hola Mohalla Festival

Thousands of devotees paid their obeisance at Anandpur Sahib, Takhat Sri Kesgarh Sahib, and Kiratpur Sahib to mark Hola Mohalla festival over the weekend. The festival dates back to the 18th century, when Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru, created an occasion for Sikhs to show their martial arts skills and host mock battles.
Holi is also celebrated during the festival. Hundreds of Nihang Sikhs assemble and perform Gatka martial arts, wearing huge turbans with religious symbols. They belong to the Khalsa Army and are distinctively set apart by their blue robes and orange turbans with sashes that give them a dignified look. Horse riding stunts were also displayed by Nihangs to show their combat skills.
Another aspect of this festival is the community kitchen in the form of “langars”. Tourists and visitors are offered traditional meal irrespective of their caste and creed.

Hola Mohalla Festival 2017

AFP PHOTO / NARINDER NANUSikh devotees spray perfume on the Palki Sahib, which carries the Guru Garnth Sahib (Sikh holy books) to mark 'Hola Mohalla' in a procession from the Golden Temple to Sri Akal Takhat Sahib in Amritsar on March 13, 2017.

Hola Mohalla Festival 2017

AFP PHOTO / Money SHARMAA Nihang, a Sikh men who belongs to the armed Sikh order, looks on during the Hola Mohalla festival in Anandpur Sahib on March 13, 2017. Hola Mohalla is a Sikh festival that takes place in the month of March on the day following Holi, the festival of colours.

Hola Mohalla Festival 2017

AFP PHOTO / Money SHARMAA Nihang, a Sikh man who belongs to the armed Sikh order, performs 'Gatka' an ancient form of Sikh martial art during the Hola Mohalla festival in Anandpur Sahib on March 13, 2017.

Hola Mohalla Festival 2017

AFP PHOTO / Money SHARMANihangs, Sikh men who belong to the armed Sikh order, perform 'Gatka' an ancient form of Sikh martial art during the Hola Mohalla festival in Anandpur Sahib on March 13, 2017.

Hola Mohalla Festival 2017

PTIAnandpur Sahib: Nihangs display their horse riding stunts during the last day of Hola Mohalla festival in Anandpur Sahib on Monday.

Hola Mohalla Festival 2017

AFP PHOTO / Dibyangshu SARKARA young Nihang, who belongs to the armed Sikh order, performs 'Gatka' an ancient form of Sikh martial art during the Hola Mohalla festival in Anandpur Sahib on March 14, 2017.

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