Dhol Workshops at the National Media Musuem celebrating Hola Mahalla

During Hola Mahalla a Nagar Kirtan (procession) starts from the main bazaar in Anandpur Sahib and travels all the way to a ground where various sports events take place. Nagar Kirtans feature a chorus of drummers announcing the procession. Traditionally they would be Nagara drums, large double drums thunderously announcing to the world the presence of royalty going into battle. This can be seen in the Hola Nahalla exhibition at the National Media Museum in Bradford from 26 February through to 17 April. 

Nagara drum on a horse during hola mahalla hola mohalla


These days Dhol players also form part of Nagar Kirtans. To celebrate the the Hola Mahalla festival, the exhibition and the 'Make Some Noise' science week, Dhol workshops and performances were organised at the National Media Museum carried out by Soul Asia Academy | Drum Fusion. It was received well and drew in great numbers.

Below are some pictures from the event.

Photos Darshan Singh

Hola Mahalla is a little known Sikh festival that takes place annually in Anandpur, India. Dubbed the Sikh Olympics, it involves sword fights, daring horse stunts and a dab of spiritualism.

This documentary focuses on the festival Hola Mahalla that has been running since the 17th century, showcasing skills such as swordsmanship and daring horse stunts that are with an ever decreasing number of nomadic Sikhs.

Featuring key interviews with Nihang Jatherdar (High Priest) Baba Nihal Singh and Kesgarh Sahib Jathedar, Late Giani Tirlochan Singh. This beautifully shot film takes the viewer on a journey through the festival and Anandpur Sahib, the "City of Bliss", providing a snapshot into a world rarely experienced outside of India and exploring this Forgotten Festival.