Anandpur SahibIf Amritsar is the holy city of Sikhs, Anandpur is the city of Bliss, forever recognized as the place where the political Sikh nation was born, where Guru Gobind Singh forged a mass of peasants into a martial race. To know more about Anandpur Sahib, it is necessary to delve into the events of 17th and 18th century when Sikhs became a military power. Anandpur Sahib is a great pilgrimage centre revolving completely around Sikhism. The glorious history of Anandpur Sahib is associated with Guru Gobind Singh Ji who spent almost 25 years of his life at this sacred place. It was the same place where five Sikhs volunteered their heads at Guru Gobind Singh ji’s bidding, creating the nucleus of the self-abnegating, brave and casteless fellowship of the Khalsa. It is thus the Birthplace of the Khalsa. Each winding little streets of Anandpur Sahib seems to contain historic gurudwaras commemorating emotive events of the evolution of Khalsa.The present building of the Takht Kesgarh Sahib was constructed during 1936-44 under the supervision of Sant Hari Singh Kaharpuri. 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. Religious SpotsGurudwara Guru-Ka-Mahal (Bhora Sahib): It is the 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. An underground room is there, where the 9th Guru used to meditate. Gurudwara Sis-Ganj Sahib: 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, ceremoniously. Gurudwara Damdama Sahib: The 10th Guru was given the Guru Gaddi, here. It was from here that he had declared the end of the institution of the Masands-the priestly agents of the former Gurus. Historical MonumentsCentral Fort Sri Anandgarh Sahib: Central Fort Sri Anandgarh Sahib was built in the year 1686. It was hit several times by the combined forces of the hill chiefs and local Moghul officers and every time attackers were put to flight, licking dust. In 1704, however, when the Rajas of Bilaspur, Kangra, Kulu, Mandi, Nurpur, Guler, Chamba, Jammu and Garhwal, in tandem with the Mughal Governors of Delhi, Lahore and Sirhind attacked Anandgarh, although the Fort held out, but for lack of ration and ammunition the inmates were reduced to dire straits. When the besieged Khalsa insisted and the enemy vowed safe passage, the fort was vacated. Since the vows were not kept, the evacuation from the fort spelt disaster in which the 10th Guru's four sons, several intrepid warriors and financial and literary treasures were lost. Lohgarh Fort: It was Sri Anandpur Sahib's Armoury, weapon manufacturing factory and martial training ground. Fatehgarh Fort: Stood guard over the highways which connected Sri Anandpur Sahib to Sirhind and Lahore in the north and to Delhi in the south. Taragarh Fort: Kept watch over the hill states. This fort was built to prevent any attack from the side of the hill State of Bilaspur.More tourist PlacesNaina Devi: The hill top shrine of Naina Devi (Mother Goddess) is situated in Bilaspur District of Himachal Pradesh in India. It is just 30 km from Anandpur Sahib and 100 km from Chandigarh. Both Sikhs and Hindus regularly visit each other’s shrines. Since time immemorial, people from all walks of life irrespective of caste ad religion have been visiting this temple for a darshan of Maa Naina Devi. They come with hope to get their wishes fulfilled. Kiratpur Sahib: Kiratpur Sahib is about 10 km from Anandpur Sahib and is a sacred place for all Sikhs. It has a long association with most of the Sikh Gurus. Guru Nanak Dev is said to have visited this place when it was little more than a wilderness. Guru Hargobind, the sixth Guru spent the last few years of his life here. You can see several Gurudwaras here viz. Gurudwara Charan Kamal, Gurudwara Baba Gurditta, Tomb of Baba Buddan Shah, Gurudwara Bavangarh, Gurudwara Pata Puri and Gurudwara Shish Mahal. The significance of this place is that Sikhs immerse the ashes of their dead at this place. Ropar: Ropar or Rupnagar is a small town just 40 km from Anandpur Sahib famous for its museum which houses the findings of Archeological Survey of India (ASI). ASI had excavated treasure troves of remains – in all there were traces of six civilizations. About 15 km from Ropar lies the Gurudwara Parwar Vichhora Sahib, which commemorates the spot where Guru Gobind Singh was separated by his two sons and mother on the night of the battle – 5th December 1705.Other AttractionsHolla MohallaAn annual Sikh martial festival, Hola Mohalla is celebrated in the month of Phalguna (March), a day after Holi. The highlight of this fair is a spectacular display of fencing and tent-pegging, as the Nihang Sikhs show off their legendary martial equestrian skills. The festival being an occasion to rejoice is also a time to restore faith in the Khalsa Panth and rededicate oneself to the service of the community. Everyone, irrespective of their social standing, involves themselves in kar seva - manual labour, like helping in the langars, or public kitchens, cleaning the gurudwaras, and washing dishes etc. The festival is celebrated grandly at Anandpur Sahib. Thousands of people visit the shrine to participate in prayers. The symbol of this festival is to understand the duty of an individual with responsibilities towards the society. How to reachAnandpur Sahib lies 10 km off NH 21, the Chandigarh-Manali highway (75 km from Chandigarh). Turn left at the ruins of Kiratpur to get to Anandpur Sahib. Nearest airport is at Chandigarh (75 km away) and railhead at Nangal.