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Hola Mohalla is an annual festival that is celebrated in the month of ‘Phaguna’, next day after Holi and is held at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab. The festival was started by the tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh in 1700 A.D. as a gathering of Sikhs for military exercises for displaying their valour and defence preparedness at a time when Sikhs were engaged in battles with the Mughal Empire. During this festival the ‘Nihang Singhs’ or the ‘Akalis’, who claim to be the descendents and warriors of the Sikh army founded by Guru Gobind Singh, carry out mock battles (‘Gatka’) and displays with swords and horse riding. The festival is also an occasion for the Sikhs to reaffirm their dedication to the ‘Khalsa Panth’. The ceremonies involve performance of ‘akhanda pathas’, singing of ‘shabads’ and ‘kirtans’ and offering of ‘kar sevas’ throughout the day.


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