Celebrating Hola Mohalla with a Show of Skills

Hola Mohalla, celebrated at Charan Ganga Stadium the day after Holi, honours valour, skill and defence preparedness, introduced by the Tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

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Hola Mohalla, the Sikh Spring festival is celebrated at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab over 3 days starting the day after Holi.

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A celebration of brotherhood, fraternity and valour, it holds great significance for Nihang Sikhs, an armed Sikh warrior order.

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Celebrating the Festival

A major part of the festivities include a display of skills by various groups of Nihang Sikhs.  

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Some of these skills horsemanship, swordsmanship, archery and more.

The Importance of Horsemanship

A major part of the display is horsemanship. Daredevil feats such as riding four horses at the same time...

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...and riding them through the crowd are just a few examples.

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The Nihang and their Horses

The Nihang Sikhs, who celebrate Hola Mohalla, deeply care for their animals, dedicating a long time to feeding, washing, and pampering them. 

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The Chakri

The chakri is another form of skill shown at the stadium. 

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An instrument made of balls attached with string, it is twirled in a stunning display by the young and old alike.

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In the past, the chakri was used as a weapon, with iron balls, and would be twirled in the face of opponents.

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The Nihang and Motorbikes

Daredevil stunts on the motorbike are also a part of the display. Participants display rigorously practiced but dangerous feats like riding blindfolded, standing up straight on a moving bike, showing off their skills in marksmanship and more.

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Motorbikes replace horses for some participants as they display incredulous feats on the moving vehicle.

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The Importance of Swordplay

Swordplay and mock fights are also put up at the skill display.

Most of the friendly discord fighting displays use sticks instead of actual swords. 

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The individual shows of swordsmanship use real swords in an intricate display of fighting spirit and skill.

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The Significance of the Festivities

The battles enacted and stories shared during the celebration help the Nihang Sikhs strengthen their commitment to the Khalsa path, involving asceticism and austerity.

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Though not an official part of the celebrations, some participants even play with colours during the festivities.

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