Hola Mohalla and the Traditional Attire of the Nihang Sikhs

The spring celebrations of Holi in Punjab, India, take the form of an elaborate spectacle known as Hola Mohalla. The Nihang Sikhs have a very particular style in blue.

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In the city of Anandpur in Punjab, India, the majority of Sikhs come together to celebrate the spring festival of Holi. Known as Hola Mohalla, the celebrations are held at Gurudwara Anandpur Sahib and its grounds over a period of five days, starting the day after Holi.

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A celebration of communityhood, fraternity and valour, the festival takes on the spirit of grand sports exhibition. Hola Mohalla holds great significance for the Nihang Sikhs in particular, an armed warrior order under Sikhism. 

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Dressing for Tradition

The Nihang Sikhs wear their traditional blue robes and dastars (turbans). 

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These robes bear historical significance with the warrior clan, having adopted them from the era of the Mughal empire. They also carry weapons as part of their robes. 

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The Dastar

The dastars are a recognisable part of their attire, with some stretching to 645 meters when open. These turbans usually conform to the colour palette of Nihang garb - saffron and blue.

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The dastars are decorated with sharpened steel daggers, as well as crescents and quoits, and may weigh up to 100 pounds. 

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The Essentials of Sikhism

They also carry the 5 Ks of the Sikhism. These are the ‘Kesh’, or uncut hair, ‘Kangha’, the comb, ‘Kara’, the iron bracelet, ‘Kachera’, a cloth undergarment, and ‘Kirpan’, an iron dagger for protection.

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The kara is generally plain. Sometimes they come inscribed.

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The kirpan have a broad range of sizes.

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The kangha is made out of wood and available in varied sizes.

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Nihang Sikh Pride

The traditional garments hold a lot of significance to the Nihang Sikhs and are a matter of great pride. 

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