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Sikhs celebrate annual 'Hola Mohalla' festival
by Ravinder Singh Robin

     Amritsar (Punjab): A large number of Sikh devotees converged at the Golden Temple in Amritsar to participate in the annual 'Hola Mohalla' celebrations. The spring festival of 'Holla Mohalla' that coincides with Holi, was celebrated in many Sikh shrines with fervour and gaiety. Every year, spring is ushered in by the Sikhs celebrating a vigorous and colorful festival known as "Hola Mohalla" in Punjab, especially at Anandpur Sahib. A religious procession was taken out on this day during at dawn and by late evening at the Golden Temple in which Sikh devotees carried the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of the Sikhs, in a golden palanquin heavily decorated with flowers, amid chanting of hymns. Devotees participating in the procession showered rose petals and sprayed perfume all around during this religious procession. The procession started from the sanctum sanatorium of the Golden Temple and concluded at the Sri Akal Takht, the supreme temporal seat of the Sikhs. "I cannot tell you how excited we people are to participate in this festival. We enjoy taking part in this festival. On one hand, devotees are offering prayers and on the other hand, people are spraying perfume and holy colours," said Gurpreet Singh, a devotee. 'Holla Mohalla' celebrates the heroism and valour of the Sikhs. The festival commemorates the transformation of the Sikh community into a martial fraternity by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of Sikhs. Traditionally attired Nihangs, the title by which the army of the tenth Sikh Guru came to be addressed, were the centre of attraction at the sporting event displaying skills in ancient warfare known as "Gatka" and sword fighting. Visitors from across the world congregate at the holy shrine to take part in the festivities.
-Mar 12, 2009

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