Head north to the Punjab and attend the amazing Hola Mohalla Sikh Festival in Anandpur Sahib! Experience magnificent displays of horsemanship and exciting mock fighting (Gatka), witness the tremendous colours of the Sikh faith, including the stunning blue and orange blend of the Nehang Sikh Army.
Holla Mohalla is a Sikh festival celebrated in the month of Phalguna , a day after Holi.An annual festival held at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab, Hola Mohalla was started by the tenth Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh, as a gathering of Sikhs for military exercises and mock battles on the day following the festival of Holi. It reminds the people of valour and defence preparedness, concepts dear to the Tenth Guru who was at that time battling the Mughal Empire. 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.
Anandpur Sahib is popular among tourists as a holy place for Sikhs. The unique location of Anandpur Sahib at the footsteps of the Himalayas on the bank of River Sutlej makes it a perfect destination for travellers with its picturesque and scenic surroundings. This town located in the Rudrapur district of Punjab is one of the most revered places for Sikhs. Anandpur Sahib was founded by the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur in 1665, and the town gained posperity under the guidance of tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.
Cosily ensconsed in the pretty Shivalik foothills along the eastern periphery of Punjab,Kikar Lodge is set amidst the lush environs of India’s first private forest reserve, which stretches over 1,800 acres. The two swimming pools and the companion kiddie-pool are the hub of all the action. There’s plenty of private space for kids and adults to play water polo or even swim a couple of laps undisturbed.
Saturday 15th March 2014. The remainder of the day can be spent at leisure exploring India’s capital.
Delhi – Kangar Village. we climb aboard the Shatabdi Express train north to Chandigarh, passing through the picturesque state of Haryana which is blessed with lush green scenery and beautiful lakes and rivers. Upon arrival in Chandighar we are driven to the tranquil Kikar Lodge in Kangar Village. This is our base for the next 3 nights, while we attend the prestigious Hola Mohalla festival in the nearby holy city of Anandpur Sahib. Hola Mohalla is an annual 3 day festival which occurs during the first lunar month of Chet.
We spend the remains of day 2 and day 3 at the Holla Mohalla Festival, where we’ll witness all the colourful festivities which include dramatic mock martial arts battles (known as Gatka), impressive displays of weaponry, archery and wrestling. There’s also music, poetry and prayers, singing and chanting, while food is served to pilgrims from all castes and creeds by women from the neighbouring villages, who set up langars (community kitchens). This is impressive and humbling to watch as regardless of caste, all Sikh’s sit together.
There are also exciting horse riding displays from the Nahib Sikh Army where the riders gallop bareback, performing tricks like riding astride two horses. One of the main attractions at the festival are the Nehangs – a prestigious armed Sikh order who wear a striking blend of blue and orange, with twisted moustaches and staggeringly giant embellished turbans. Any keen photographers will have a whale of a time here with all the amazing sights and vibrant colours on show.
Today is yours to spend at leisure. Anyone who wants to return to the Hola Mohalla Festival can do so, or there are plenty of other forms of entertainment. The lodge is surrounded by nature trails for any keen walkers and wildlife is here in abundance. Sporting activities include volleyball and badminton and there’s the opportunity to take a leisurely buffalo cart or tractor ride.
Wednesday 19 March 2014. Kangar – Chandigarh – Delhi. Today we travel back to Chandigarh and explore its wonderful Rock Garden. This unique attraction displays numerous sculptures made entirely from industrial and urban waste. Look out for sculptures made out of mudguards and marbles, broken bangles and brake pads or even handle bars and hubcaps! Next we head over to Sukhna Lake. This picturesque manmade lake is 3 km in length and is very popular with watersports fans and is a great place to relax and unwind. Early this evening we travel by train back down to Delhi.
Once back in Delhi You may continue for onward journeys.