Anandpur Sahib: Anandpur Sahib in Punjab was founded in the year 1665 by the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, near the ruins of an ancient place, Makhowal. Here on the mound of Makhowal, Guru Tegh Bahadur raised a new habitation. The ground was broken on June 19, 1665, by Baba Gurditta Randhawa. The new village was named Chakk Nanaki after the Guru's mother, Nanaki. The place later came to be known as Anandpur Sahib.
Anandpur Sahib is the birthplace of the “Khalsa”, making it one of the holiest sites for the Sikhs. It was on Baisakhi day (March 30) in 1699 that Guru Gobind Singh Ji (the tenth and last “living” Guru of the Sikhs), baptised the 'Panj Pyaras' (five elected) into the Khalsa (Pure) brotherhood making the 5 k’s Kesh (unshorn hair), kanga (small boxwood comb in their hair), kaccha (a pair of shorts), kara (a steel bangle), and a kirpan (a short dagger), mandatory for the Sikhs, at the place where Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib stands. This is also considered the birth of the Khalsa.
Close to Keshgarh Sahib Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) stands Anandgarh. Climb up the stairs and enter the fort to visit the Anandgarh Sahib Gurdwara. A sound and light show is held here every night narrating the history of the place and giving a glimpse into sikh history.
Gurdwara Keshgarh Sahib is the most important Gurudwara in Anandpur Sahib as it is the place where the Khalsa was founded. Every March the festival of Hola Mohalla is celebrated here and the sleepy town of Anandpur Sahib comes alive. In fact the festival was started by Guru Gobind Singh who felt that Holi as it was then being celebrated had lost its essence of fraternity and brotherhood. So in 1757 he decided to revive the spirit of Holi with the festival of Hola Mohalla, celebrated a day after Holi.
The Nihangs (traditional members of the Sikh army founded by Guru Gobind Singh) carry on the martial tradition by performing daring feats such as Gatka (mock encounters) tent pegging, bareback horse riding and standing erect on 2 speeding horses much to the delight of the audience. They present a fierce picture as they gallop past on horseback spraying colour on the people. Soon everyone is spraying colour on each other. The highlighted of the last day is a long procession led by the Panj Piaras which makes a round of all the Gurudwaras in the area.