Anandpur Sahib is a city in Rupnagar district in the state of Punjab, India. Known as "the holy City of Bliss," it is a holy city of the Sikhs and is one of their most important sacred places, 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 Sutlej forming a shimmering and shiny blue border on the south west barely four miles away.
Anandpur Sahib was founded in 1665 by the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, near the ruins of an ancient place, Makhowal. On May 13, 1665, Guru Tegh Bahadur went to Bilaspur to attend the mourning for Raja Dip Chand of Bilaspur State. The Dowager Rani Champa of Bilaspur offered to give the Guru a piece of land in her state. The land consisted of the villages of Lodhipur, Mianpur and Sahota. Here on the mound of Makhowal, Guru Tegh Bahadur raised a new habitation. The ground was broken on 19 June 1665, by Baba Gurditta Ji. The new village was named Chakk Nanaki after the Guru's mother, Nanaki. The place later came to be known as Anandpur Sahib.
Festivals and fairs:
Anandpur Sahib comes to life every year on the occasion of Hola Mohalla. This tradition dates back to the times of the 10th Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh . The Guru decreed that the occasion of the festival of Holi be the occasion for the display of the martial spirit of his people and he gave this festival of Holi the Sikh name of 'Hola Mohalla'. Each year Hola Mohalla marks the congregation of up to 100,000 devotees from all over the country for a festival of colour and gaiety.
Thousands of devotees from various parts of the country throng to Anandpur Sahib to participate in the fair which lasts for three days. The Gurudwaras are specially decorated for the occasion. During Hola Mohalla Anandpur Sahib wears a festive appearance and hums with activities in the month of March every year. Community conferences and religious functions are also organized. On this occasion, Nihangs from all over the country gather for the celebrations of the Hola Mohalla.
The highlight of the festival is a huge procession by the Nihangs, clad in their traditional dress and weapons, on the last day of the fair. The procession starts from the headquarters of the Nihangs, opposite Gurudwara Anandgarh Sahib, and passing through the bazar goes to village Agampur and reaches the fort of Holgarh, the place where Guru Gobind Singh used to celebrate this fair. Thereafter, the procession heads toward the sandy bed of Charan Ganga, where demonstration of martial games including riding, tent pegging, sword wielding etc. are witnessed by a large number of people. Baisakhi in 1999, at Anandpur Sahib marked the completion of 300 years of the birth of the Khalsa. It was on Baisakhi day in 1699 that Sri Guru Gobind Singh baptised the Panj Pyaras at the place where Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib stands.
Five forts of Guru Gobind Singh Ji:
- Gurudwara Bhora Sahib: This Gurdwara was the residence of Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib, There is an underground room cut off from the din of life where the 9th Guru used to meditate and compose hymns.
- Gurudwara Thara Sahib: This was a part of Gur ka Mahal Complex. It was “Diwan – E – Aam”. It is here Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib Ji used to hold congregations and address the Sikhs. It was here Bhai Kripa Ram Dutt along with other 16 Kashmiri Pandits (on May 25, 1675) came to seek protection from Aurangzeb and requested Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib to save them from forcible conversions to Islam
- Gurudwara Akal Bunga Sahib: This Gurdwara is situated exactly opposite to “Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib”. Here, Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji after the cremation of “Head of Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib Ji” had rested with his relations and followers followed by a prayer to the Almighty, addressed the Sikhs to bow before the “Will of Almighty”. He told the Sikhs to be prepared for struggle for freedom of faith & war against the tyranny and injustice.
- Gurudwara Damdama Sahib: This is also the part of Gurdwara Gur Ka Mahal Complex. It is also Known As Gurdwara Takhat Sahib, Shi Guru Teg Bahadur sahib Ji used to perform the functions of Shri Akal Takhat Sahib from this place. It was “Diwan – E – Khas”. It was also court of Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib and lately Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. It was here Guru Sahib used to greet representatives of different states as well as other important guests. Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji was designated as tenth guru at this place.
- When Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji called all the “masands” at Shri Anandpur Sahib,they were tried here. By the side of this building, is an old well, from the time of Shri Guru Gobind singh Ji, still exists. The “masands” who had been found guilty were punished here.
- Gurudwara Manji Sahib / Gurudwara Dumalgarh Sahib: This Gurdwara is on the northern side of Takhat Shri Kesh Garh Sahib. Here, Guru Gobind Singh Ji used to train his sons. This place was also used as play ground. Wrestling and Other Competitions were also held here.
- On November 2, 1703 when Ajmer Chand, the ruler of Bilaspur attached Shri Anandpur Sahib, Guru Gobind Singh Ji was sitting here under the banyan tree. In the battlefield, the Sikhs under the command of Bhai Maan Singh Nishanchi gave a befitting fight to the hill army. During the battle Bhai Maan Singh Ji was wounded and Khalsa Flag was broken. A Sikh soldier reported this to Guru Gobind singh Sahib Ji.
10th Sikh Guru Guru Gobind Singh Ji made five forts on the border of the city to protect it from the external invasions. The fort is called Qila in the Punjabi and Hindi languages.
- Qila Anandgarh Sahib: This was the main fort, after which the city was also named Anandpur Sahib. The Army once resided here.
- Qila Holgarh Sahib
- Qila Lohgarh Sahib: Here the weapons for the Army were made.
- Qila Fatehgarh Sahib
- Qila Taragarh Sahib