Festivals of India || Hola Mohalla - A unique celebration on the day of Holi Festival


Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !

Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).

Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !

We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. 

Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !

After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.
 Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !
After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. 

Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !
Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic. 
 Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !
We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. 

Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !

The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public. 
 Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !
Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, so it was quite easy to get something and join the gang inside langar pandal.

Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !
Most of us enjoyed the langar and then headed for evening action. Suddenly we were in a huge ground full of colorfully dressed sikhs with weapons like swords, javelins, guns etc. 60% of the folks had one or other weapon. 
 Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !

Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. 

Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !
Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. 

Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration ! 
Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. 

 Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !
All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. 
 Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !
After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. 

Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !
While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. 

Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !
Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. 


Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. 

Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !
Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !
While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.

Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !
Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms. 

Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !
We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.


Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !


It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. 

Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !
Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.




Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !

The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. 
 Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !

Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.

Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration ! 
Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. 



Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !
Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.

Few weeks back one of my friends pinged me over Facebook to ask if I can join in one of his Photography Trip during Holi. Idea was to join the group of Photographers and help them utilize the basic techniques of Photography. And when it comes to learning and travel, I am always ready. Leading a group of enthusiastic explorers and Photographers is a very good learning experience and, hence, I agreed to join the gang for Hola Mohalla 2014. This Photo Journey shares some moments from the visit to Hola Mohalla, an event that occurs every year at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab (India).We started from Delhi on 16th March at 7am in a Tempo Traveller. Ramit from 'Delhi by Foot' shared some quick facts about Hola Mohalla & its history. It was quite useful to know the background and why this event is called 'Hola Mohalla'. Here is a summary -- Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb and he asked for 5 volunteers to lead. These 5 leaders are popularly known as 'Panj Pyare'. Hola Mohalla isn't related to Holi at all, and therefore colors are hardly used here. However every year it is celebrated on same day. After a quick introduction to the place by Ramit, most of us chose to take a nap till we arrived at a place to have brunch. After a while, Roli started a conversation about photography basics. We were mainly talking about different shooting modes in DSLRs and what should be used when & associated subjectivity of choice. Apart from Photography we touched upon Softwares & Literature as well :). Jona also heard some of our conversations and planned to join us. By this time, most of the folks were sleeping.After driving for a few hours, we hit Ambala and stopped for a break. We took a 45 minutes break here and enjoyed tandoori paranthas and some pakoras with tea. It was time to refill fuel tank and move ahead towards our destination, Anandpur Saheb. We bypassed Chandigarh and took the shortcut which hits Kharar via Greater Mohali area. Roads near Anandpur town were badly jammed with trucks, karts, buses, cars & bikes. It seemed that whole of Punjab has come to the town for Hola Mohalla Fair. We had to spend approximately an hour in this traffic jam and then we got to know that Punjab chief minister was visiting, which was the main reason for stopping the incoming traffic.We had booked a hotel called 'Simran' with very basic facilities. It seems that Anadpur Saheb had only a handful of hotels because during normal time, one can stay in Gurudwara. Guradwara has sufficient arrangements to accommodate hundreds of folks at any point in time. So there is not much demand for hotels in Anandpur Saheb. The streets were full of people and there were tens and thousands of Sikhs there. After having some rest at the hotel, all of us headed towards to the ground where Nihang Warriors were showcasing their skills to public.We encountered few langars on the way, where Jalebi, Pakoras and food was being served. Before hitting the main ground, we thought of having something at the Langar. We had to put off our shoes before entering into the langar areas and also got to know that everyone of us needed to cover our heads. Everyone had something to cover the head except me and Madhu. There were various shops nearby to buy stuff, Initially it looked quite odd and lot of questions were coming to my mind. I was not able to relate to things which were communicated by leaders on stage and I was wondering about existence of such community in country like India. I was not able to control myself and thought of talking to the Nihang singhs sitting around the corner of main stage. Asked various questions and the way he replied made me feel a bit relieved. Especially when I asked - 'Are you ever tempted to use your weapon wielding skills when you get angry or not in right state of mind', he replied this in detail. It seems that training grounds are there in almost every town where Sikhs are living. They go to these training centers called as Akharas and before the actual training starts, each of them is trained by Jathedar (leader/coach) about ethics of using these weapons and related skills. As a basic principle, no one of them can use these weapons without permission of their guru, except one of the situations. And another thing is that using these weapons for  personal use is restricted. If someone is found using the skills and weapons in undesired way, the community has defined appropriate punishment. More than all these details, I loved the way this guy was explaining all these things to me. Now I was confident that all this is happening for some reasons which this community experiences over time and it;s harmless for overall Eco-system. In fact, I found this a very good way to be united and teach youth about some of the religious values. Whole evening was full of action, music, poets and Khalsa stories. Some parts were boring,  but overall the action filled activities by different groups from various parts of the country were definitely worth experiencing. Some of their leaders and sponsors had come for Hola mohalla from different countries. Apart from demonstrating these skills, few other games are organized during these two days of Hola Mohalla. We had also planned to go for Kabaddi & kho-kho but couldn't find time for that. It seems polo is also played in one of the grounds in Anadpur Saheb during Hola Mohalla. All these events keep happening throughout the night. Some of us moved for dinner at around 9pm and also left at around 10:30pm. Again we preferred to have dinner at Langars only. After dinner, we moved towards Anandpur Saheb market which was full of people moving towards main Gurudwara. We couldn't visit the Gurudwara during these two days because there was significant waiting time involved to reach inside and we were only there for a very short while. We found a sweets shop, had some besan barfi and moved back to our hotel to have some rest and gear up for the most exciting day - Hola Mohalla. While going back towards the hotel, we noticed that most of the folks around these grounds were sleeping in tempos/trucks they had arrived in. Activities were still on at around 11:30pm and many of the folks were sitting on top of buses & trucks to have a clear view. Next day started with delicious breakfast at hotel and then we moved towards Gurudwara campus where various processions go from main Gurudwara to Sheeshganj Gurudwara. While going towards Gurudwara, Ramit took us to a ground full of swings and maut-ka-kuan. All of us watached Maut-ka-Kuan show, which was awesome. Some of us chose to have some snacks and then we moved towards Gurudwara. It was very crowded and at times it was getting difficult to move.Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Anandpur saheb and there is no liquor shop in this town, but bhang was available at every 100 meters in different forms.We kept walking and it was hot outside. There was hardly any action in the market before noon. There were lots of people but hardly anything was happening. Processions were yet to start. Some of us were tired and wanted to get under shade. We chose to have lunch and take some rest.It was quite an experience to walk around these markets in Hola Mohalla fair. While walking around the streets, I observed a very interesting thing. The foreground, where all groups had to gather was occupied by significant numbers of bikes. There were 6-8 policemen who had to ensure that ground gets empty soon to avoid chaotic situation. One of the policemen approached boys and requested them to do some 'seva' by moving these bikes on one side of the road to create a queue. And it was amazing to see a group of 15-20 young boys clearing the space in few minutes. I was super impressed with this act by youth at Hola Mohalla. Then we thought of moving towards the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated in presence of all Nihang singhs and folks from different parts of the country.The above photograph gives a quick glimpse of the main ground where Hola Mohalla is celebrated. This was less than 1% of the crowd around this ground. Folks were settling down and there was not much action when we reached main ground. Still people were coming in and real action was yet to start. Some of the Nihang groups were performing in the middle of this huge ground. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that performances were hardly visible to people sitting on surrounding hills, because many of the folks including media & photographers had surrounded these performers from all the sides. I am sure that folks sitting at a distance would have major difficulties in watching the action happening on ground.Some of the bikers started showing stunts on Hola Mohalla ground znow horses, camels, elephants had started coming in. Final evening on the day of Holi festival is considered as main Hola Mohalla, when real action happens. Horse ride is one of the popular sport of Hola Mohalla. Some of the folks were riding on 4 horses as well. During this race, grass bundles are put in the middle of the ground and these riders have to pick a bundle with a stick when they were racing at a very high speed. It was crazy to see that people had created a narrow lane around the place where these horses run. There is no boundary defined for this race, which means that horses can easily hit folks standing on both sides. Initially I was very uncomfortable going to the front and some photographs and then Ramit encouraged me to go & experience something very special. During this many people step over each other and situation may get chaotic and everything during this time happens instantaneously.This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !

This Holi was the most unique one for me. And Hola Mohalla is an event worth experiencing at least once. The warmth and large-heartedness of Sikhs shines through the frenzied activities and unbelievable crowds. A visit to Hola Mohalla can help in getting to know the Sikh culture more closely. 

Since connectivity was a big problem in Anandpur town, it was difficult to use any of the Android apps like Facebook, Instagram or Blogger. So I had to find a workaround to be connected to my followers and friends. One of my techie friend suggested shared a though of installing Opera Mini browser and he claimed that it works pretty well in low bandwidth conditions and on top of that you would be saving roaming charges, which are significant in India. And I was happy with the results. It seems the browser gets compressed responses from the server and help in fast browsing of content in compressed form, which makes the experience better and reduces the bill :) .. Now Opera Mini is there on my Mobile, although I don't use it much in the city and prefer to use different apps but Opera Mini is the saviour when I travel to Himalayan ranges in India or rural parts which are favorites of TravellingCamera.  

Thanks for Ramit, Delhi by Foot & all participants for great company during this exploration !

10 comments:

D.Nambiar said...

Superb pictures. Such a festive post. It was nice knowing about Hola Mohalla too.

VJ Sharma said...

Thanks D Nambiar ! Happy that you liked the photographs.

Hola Mohalla is a unique experience.

Bhavna Negi said...

These are some great pictures. I felt as if I am watching some action movies. #IncredibleIndia indeed. Every picture is so perfect, nothing that's out of place. I can feel the fun, the energy and of course the over-the-top feeling you all must have had being part of this! Loved it

VJ Sharma said...

@Bhavna - Thanks for encouraging words, as always :)

As a goal of PHOTO JOURNEY, we try to present the experience but many times I feel that it becomes very difficult to make someone feel the REAL experience. Of-course, it's impossible but in such cases it's even more difficult.

At the same time, I would not recommend this to someone who hates crowd, dust and prefers to have comfortable stay with peaceful environment.

Arpit Rastogi said...

I saw few photographs of Hola Mohalla on FB before but this post is complete with your story telling!

Loved reading it and almost every photograph is a delight to watch..

Hope this post goes viral.. :)

VJ Sharma said...

Happy that you liked these photographs Arpit :)

Ela & Karan said...

Simply amazing, story and pics.

Karan Khera said...

Simply amazing, story and photographs.

VJ Sharma said...

Thanks Karan :)

MAHESH SEMWAL said...

as usual post with awesome pics !

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