|Arriving at Amritsar airport with fellow Gursikhs from UK|
In March 2017, I had the first time opportunity to visit Sri Anandpur Sahib during Hola Mahalla. Despite cold weather and rain, we eventually got to Sri Anandpur Sahib. On the journey to Sri Anandpur Sahib, Sangats of local villages stood at roadsides offering food and drink to the Sangat passing by foot or cars. There was so much enthusiasm, love in the local people of Punjab and a feeling of wanting to serve the Sangat. Although the people might not know much about Sikhi or have drifted away from Sikhi Saroop and principals, they still had a yearning to serve the Sangat and felt a connection to Guru Sahib. You could feel that that if these loving people had some direction, some guidance, and someone to explain Sikhi on their level, they would be receptive and would most likely eagerly adopt the Guru's Path.
Throughout Punjab you could see the beloved armies of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Nihang Singhs, slowly but surely making their way to Sri Anandpur Sahib. It was admirable that in age of Kalyug where people are lost in the storm of fashion, trends and materialism, the Nihangs have preserved the Guru's tradition of living in Bana (Khalsa attire) and simple living. I asked Bhai Surjit Singh Ji Nadala, "Bhai Sahib what are your views on when will Khalsa Raaj come?" Bhai Sahib replied, "Whoever wears and holds the Siri Sahib, it is their Raaj." Truly seeing all the Gursikhs wearing their beautiful Bana, and wearing their Siri Sahibs, I could feel what Bhai Sahib meant.
|Mata Ji and Bhai Sahib from Sweden|
|Veer Gursharan Singh from Spain|
Akhand Kirtani Jatha India hold its annual Hola Mahalla Keertan Smaagam at Sri Anandpur Sahib. Arriving at Sri Kalgidhar Gurdwara Sahib, the morning Keertan was taking place, which ended in the afternoon with the Anand Kaaraj of a Gursikh couple. I was surprised to see much Sangat from different countries attending the Smaagam. It felt like an international smaagam.
|Pyaare Gursikhs from Kashmir and Jammu|
An important thing that I experienced at Sri Anandpur Sahib is the Pyaar of the Khalsa family. Walking through Sri Anandpur Sahib I met so many Gursikhs of different backgrounds, e.g. Gore Sikh, Sikhs from different parts of India and other parts of the world, Nihang Singhs, Jatha Bhindran Gursikhs, Akhand Kirtani Jatha Gursikhs, Gursikhs from Sukrit Trust (Bhai Jasbir Singh Khanne Wale) and Gursikhs from Sikh Missionary College. Everyone went out of their way to give a friendly smile and share a warm Fateh.
|Guru Ka Langar|
At the Rainsbaaee Keertan held by the Akhandi Kirtani Jatha, it was moving to see so many Singhs of Nihang Dals, Jatha Bhindran, and other Sampardas, coming to enjoy the Keertan and partake in Langar. No one focused or mentioned the small differences in Maryada, and instead showed pyaar. It is sad that when their is so much pyaar in India, why controversies are stirred in the West or social media to create divides between different Gursikhs. Dhan Guru Gobind Singh Ji has a beautiful family, but importantly we should be remember we are all part of that beautiful family irrespective of our minor differences in vichaar or maryada. It was truly a memorable Hola Mahalla.
|Takhat Sri Kesgarh Sahib|