Sri Keshgarh Sahib

at Anandpur Sahib

Anandpur Sahib Gurdwara, Ropar

Anandpur Sahib - the holy City of Bliss-is one of the most important sacred places of the Sikhs and is closely linked with their religious traditions and history. It is located on the lower spurs of the Himalayas surrounded by picturesque natural scenery, with the river Satluj forming a shimmering and shiny blue border on the south west barely four miles away. So far as the historical significance of Anandpur Sahib is concerned, it is second only to Amritsar, the city of Golden Temple. Anandpur Sahib was founded in the year 1664 by the ninth Guru, Sri Guru Teg Bahadur ji, near the ruins of an ancient place, Makhowal. The Guru purchased the site from the ruler of Bilaspur.

Gurudwara Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib
In 1699, on the occasion of the festival of Baisakhi, Guru Nanak's mission was fulfilled by the 10th Guru, Sahib Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, when, through baptism of the double-edged-sword the Sikh was consummated as the Khalsa-Saint Soldier- in direct commune with the Guru and God. Still more astonishing is the fact that the Guru had got himself baptised by the Panj-Pyaras, the five beloved ones, who had offered him their heads to uphold Dharma - the righteous cause.

The Takht Sahib proper is a square hall with a balcony in front overlooking a spacious courtyard on a lower level. In the middle of the inner domed room are placed some weapons preserved as sacred relics. The space being limited on the top of the hill, the sarovar is on the plain ground west of the Takht Sahib. A large spacious pavilion is available for larger congregation. Although the town is small, for the Hola Mohalla every year in the month of March it bursts alive and recaptures its old glory and splendour.

Unique Attraction of Anandpur Sahib

Hola Mohalla
Anandpur Sahib comes to life every year on the occasion of Hola Mohalla.
Holla Mohalla is the great annual Sikh martial festival of the Khalsa, which falls in late March. This tradition dates back to the times of the 10th Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The event was specifically inaugurated by Guru Gobind Singh to infuse a permanent martial spirit into the Sikh community. It was in March 1700 that Guru Gobind Singh added the Sikh martial festival of Holla Mohalla to the end of the traditional Hindu Indian festival of Holi. The Guru decided that the occasion of the festival of Holi, fun and frolic and colour splashing, be the occasion for the display of the martial spirit of his people and he gave this festival of Holi a more masculine name of Hola Mohalla.

On this annual event, Guru Gobind Singh would organise martial contests between two Khalsa armies, one of attackers (‘Holla’) and other of guardians (‘Mohalla’). The aim of the Holla team was to dislodge the Mohalla team off the hill fort of Lohgarh (Iron Fort) and capture it. The aim of the Mohalla team was to drive back the attackers and keep hold of the fort until sunset. In this military war game, the contestants clashed with each other fiercely, and fought bone-breaking contests with the wooden clubs and sticks. This contest would begin early in the morning and ended at sunset, after which the Guru would reward the victorious Khalsa warriors and those who had shown exceptional daring and skill.

Each year Hola Mohalla marks the congregation of thousands of devotees from all over the country for a festival of colour and gaiety.

Baisakhi 1999 at Anandpur Sahib had been significant as it marked the completion of 300 years of the Birth of the Khalsa. It was on Baisakhi day in 1699 that Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji baptised the 'Panj Pyaras' at Anandpur Sahib at the place where Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib stands.


Other Places Of Pilgrimage Importance

Gurdwara Guru-Ka-Mahal (Bhora Sahib)
Residence of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur inherited by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji; the sahibzadas- the holy sons of the 10th Guru were born here. There is an underground room cut off from the din of life where the 9th Guru used to meditate.

Gurdwara Thara Sahib
The 9th Guru used to deliver sermons from this raised platform. There is place to mark the spot where the Kashmiri Brahmins came to seek protection.

Gurdwara Sis-Ganj Sahib
In November, 1675, the martyred head of the 9th Guru which was heroically brought by Bhai Jaita ( Bhai Jiwan Singh) after taking holy nectar according to Sikh rites (baptism) in exultant defiance of the Mughal authorities was cremated here.

Akal Bunga
After cremation of the holy head of his father, followed by a prayer to the Almighty, the 10th Guru had rested here with his relations and followers.

Gurdwara Damdama Sahib
The 10th Guru was given the Guru Gaddi her and declared the end of the institution of the Masands-the priestly agents of the former Gurus.

Gurdwara Manji Sahib
The Sahibzadas received their education and military training at this spot. Military exercises were also rehearsed here.


Sacred Places Near Sri Anandpur Sahib

It is 11 kms on Sri Anandpur Sahib-Ganguwal route leading to the State of Himachal Pradesh. On 25th January, 1686, the 10th Guru's wedding to Mata Jito Ji was celebrated here. Two almost pinhead springs still functional, were pierced by the 10th Guru by lancing the rocky mountains.

Gurdwara Mata Jito Ji
Not far from Holgarh Fort. Mata Jito Ji was cremated here.

Bhai Ghanaiya Ji: His Baoli / Spring
Across the now almost dried up rivulet Charan Ganga and below the Taragarh hill, Bhai Ghanaiya Ji had anticipated the RED CROSS almost two centuries before its formation in the modern times. He used to render first aid to friends and foes.

Sri Anandpur Sahib is the bastion from where the stoutest defence was put up to maintain liberty from the bigoted slavery of the Mughals and their tributary chiefs of the surrounding hills.

Click here to see the video of Keshgarh Sahib

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