People of different communities celebrate Hola Mohalla in Poonch

When the rest of the country was soaked in colours, celebrating the Hindu festival of Holi, the Sikh community residing in various parts of the country especially Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir was observing the most auspicious Hola Mohalla festival. Commemorating the transformation of the Sikh community into a martial fraternity, the festival was introduced by the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh as a gathering of Sikhs for military exercises and mock battles to counter Mughal Empire. Though Hola Mohalla is a celebration of courage and glory, this year it also became a manifestation of communal harmony when people of all castes and communities in JandK's Poonch participated in its procession. To mark the occasion, Nihangs or Sikh warriors wearing their distinctive blue traditional costumes and decorated turbans displayed their bravery and skills in the ancient martial art known as 'Gatka' and sword fighting in a colourful ceremony. Proper security arrangements were done by the Poonch administration to avoid any chaos during the procession. Much enthusiasm was also witnessed in the Amritsar city of Northern Punjab state where the golden temple transformed into a show of glitzy display and looked majestic during the festival. As a part of the occasion, Devotees carried the Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Scripture of the Sikhs, in a palanquin, heavily decorated with flowers, amid chanting hymns and spraying perfume all over. Reciting the story of bravery and faith, Hola Mohalla not only boasts of India's rich culture and heritage but also bring a sense of oneness among people from diverse religions and communities.