Tenth Guru Gobind Singh first introduced Hola Mohalla, a week long, spiritually oriented, martial arts festival which coincides with Holi, the Hindu festival of colors. Hola Mohalla is celebrated by Sikhs as an alternative to the licentious Holi holiday. This lively and colorful festival is associated with displays of mock fights, weapons, exhibitions,kirtan, and music and poetry competitions. This year it falls on 9th March, 2012.
• Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru and his force were in the act of a war with the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb and the Rajputs simultaneously.
• The Khalsa Panth fighting force had been founded by the Guru during that time. Eventually, on 22nd February, 1701, Guru Gobind Singh started a new tradition of dedicating a day towards mock fights and poetry contests.
• The event was held in Holgarh Fort, across the rivulet Charan Ganga, northwest of Anandpur Sahib.
Participants from all across the town can be seen performing bold and heroic acts, like tent pegging, bareback horse riding, Gatka (mock encounters with real weapons), standing erect on two speeding horses, and other war-like sports.
The Sikhs organize colorful processions, starting from Takhat Keshgarh Sahib (one of five Sikh religious seats) through different significant Gurdwaras and finally ending at the Takhat Keshgarh. Tourists and visitors are served with traditional meals, called langars, prepared by the local people as part of community service.
Though the festival is celebrate largely throughout Punjab and Haryana, the major attractions are those held in Anandpur from where this festival is said to have originated. It is also celebrated in Gurdwaras across the globe.
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