Keshgarh Sahib Anandpur

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Historic Shri Keshgarh Sahib Gurdwara at Anandpur Sahib on Hola Mohalla day 2014. On 28/3/1699, the Durga Ashtami day at Nainadevi Mandir, Guru Govind Singhji came forward with a naked sword and flashing it before the assembly declared: ''This is the goddess of power''. The crowd was then asked to move to Anandpur, where on 1st Baisakh, 1756 (30/3/1699) he would create a new nation. The city began as Chakk Nanaki, founded by Guru Tegh Bahadur in 1665. Guru Govind Singhji gave it a new name Anandpur (City of Bliss).

After a stimulating speech at Anandpur, the Guru flashed his sword, and said that ''every great deed was preceded by equally great sacrifice; the Holy Sword would create a heroic nation after supreme sacrifice''. He inquired if anyone in the congregation would offer his head in the name of Dharma, Truth and God. None responded post first two calls. Then Dayaram expressed his willingness to lay down his life. He was led to an adjoining tent n asked to sit quietly. The sword blade was dippied in blood of goats, and the Guru returning to the assembly with a dripping sword asked for another head.

U see entrance to Anandgarh Sahib. Names of 5 beloved ones are Dayaram, a Khatri from Lahore + Dharamdas, a Jat (born Hastinapur near Meerut, U.P.) + Sahib Chand a barber of Hoshiarpur district (born Bidar, Karnataka), Himmat Chand Kahar water-carrier of Sangatpura in Patiala district (born in Puri, Orissa) and lastly Mohkam Chand Chhimba of Buria in Ambala district (born in Dwarka, Gujarat).

View from Anandgarh Sahib - if you walk straight u reach Keshgarh Sahib. Basically there is a hill on which these 2 gurudwaras are situated, this modern day road connects them. Continuing after 5 men were taken away the Guru re-entered the assembly with all of them, dressed in the same kind of fine clothes and gave them a baptism called PAHUL of water sweetened with sugar cakes and stirred with a double-edged dagger. They were designated as Five Beloved Ones and termed Khalsa.

A view of Keshgarh Sahib from the Sarovar. Each letter of the Persian word Khalsa has significance. ''Kh'' and ''a'' stand for one-self and the Akal Purukh. ''L'' signifies Labbaik meaning the following questions of God: What do you want from me? Here am I. What would you have? And the reply of the Singh (devotee): Lord, give us liberty and sovereignty''. ''S'' signifies Sahib or Lord. The last letter is written either as ''a'' or more usually ''h''. A is for Azadi/freedom and H refers to Huma, a legendary bird.

On Hola Mohalla day a procession of the Panj Pyaras (5 beloved ones) is taken from Keshgarh Sahib thru to the streets of Anandpur. U see procession at entrance to Keshgarh Sahib (crowd walking up). Man on left with lady cops had the second biggest pagdi (turban) during Hola Mohalla.

After visit to the Sarovar was walking to Shri Keshgarh Sahib Gurduwara for darshan when saw this senior warrior sitting down quietly with bow/arrow and gun. I requested him to pose for a pic, he gladly did. When devotees saw me clicking he was suddenly noticed by all - it brought a smile to his face.

Shop with images of Gurus. Guru Govind Singhji provided his followers with 5 jewels ie the give K''s. Kesh or long hair, Kangha or comb, Kirpan or sword, Kara or steel bracelet and Kachcha or a pair of knicker-bockers. There was deeper purpose behind 5 K''s. Heads should be guarded from sword cuts and lathi blows by means of long hair n turbans. Comb was to keep beards in proper shape so they looked impressive and manly. Kara was a constant reminder to a Sikh that his spirit was equally strong and unbending. Kacha was more suitable for fighting than the long dhoti. Above all the Guru wanted to give his followers a separate identity.

Ladies making chapatis at the langar in Keshgarh Sahib. By one estimate there were atleast 500 langars during Hola Mohalla. Food is made by devotees and served free of cost. In Khalsa, the people the lowliest of the low, who had lives in a state of servility now turned into daughty warriors.

On Hola Mohalla day Nihangs display their prowness with various games as you see in this pic.

Shri Kesghgarh Sahib all lit up at night. It was a different bhavna (feeling) to have darshan at night.

A devotee meditating at Keshgarh Sahib.

Inside Keshgarh Sahib a day before Hola Mohalla. Centre of pic is the Adi Granth.

Arms of Guru Govind Singhji and his warriors in Keshgarh Sahib. Devotees pay respects and move on. Keshgarh Sahib has lots of Guru Govind Singhji weapons like the actual Khanda (double edged sword) that the Guru used to prepare amrit on the revelation of Khalsa Day, a Kataar etc. Not sure if those weapons are what u see. To see pics of Golden Temple Click here

This road takes you out of Keshgarh Sahib. Right of pic end is Holy Sarovar. To see pics of People of Anandpur Sahib Click here

Gurudwara at Anandgarh Sahib. Next to it is a small fort. It is here that Guru Govind Singhji hit a arrow into the ground from where came out water. Devotees come with bottles and take water. Devotees visit Nainadevi Mandir when they come for Hola Mohalla. To see pics of temple Click here

Group of young Nihangs at the entrance of Keshgarh Sahib. We shall present pics of Nihang Games separately. Historical facts taken from The History and Culture of Indian People Vol 7 published by the Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan. In case of any errors do write back. To see pics of Nankana Sahib Gurudwara Pakistan Click here

Virat-e-Khalsa, the museum on Sikh history which has become a must visit for all devotees. Worth a visit - very good. To visit their site Click here

I met these smiling men somewhere on Hola Mohalla day. To know more about Shri Keshgarh Sahib Click here

Policeman at Shri Keshgarh Sahib. There were cops, commandos - very heavy security to ensure the festival passed off peacefully. Hats off to Punjab Police for managing the crowds so well. 2 Pathan boys stabbed Guru Govind Singhji in Aug 1708. He gave up his body on 7/10/1708 at Nanded in Maharashtra. To see pics of Hemkunt Sahib where the Guru is said to have meditated in previous birth Click here

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