Archive for March, 2011

Harish Rai Dhanda (MLA, Ludhiana West), Chief Parliamentary Secretary will be cutting the 100 kg outside Hot Breads, Ludhiana

March 31st, 2011

India has won and we at Hot Breads are so excited that we will get to taste the best and the LARGEST Cake in the history of Ludhiana. Mr. Harish Rai Dhanda, MLA of Ludhiana West has agreed to cut the cake, adding a whole new flavor to the celebrations. “This cake will be Punjab’s tribute to the game of cricket, and we invite ALL OF YOU to enjoy the magic of the 100 kg Cricket Cake by Hot Breads, Ludhiana. Join us for the celebrations at Sarabha Nagar Market.

Call Harjinder Singh at 09855523333 for more details.

100 kg Cake cutting by Hot Breads, Ludhiana to celebrate India’s victory over Pakistan

March 31st, 2011

Before the Finals, the Big Hot Cake

In the wee hours of the night of 30 March, totally oblivious of the financial year closing the following day, the people of Ludhiana will make a beeline to the Sarabha Nagar market to partake of the First in India 100 kg World Cup Cricket Cake to celebrate the victory of India over arch-rivals Pakistan at Hot Breads.
Harjinder Singh, his family, friends, his chefs and his employees are excited and have started making arrangements convinced that India will win. They have planned a 100 kg cake to be put up in the middle of the market and every cricket fan and visitor will be invited to partake for free a slice of India’s victory.

We at Hot Breads have always kept pace with the growth of cricket in India and we believe that our delicious and mouth-watering cake will also foster the game in this part of the country and new youngsters will take to the game and excel in it”, says Harjinder Singh when asked to share the rationale behind organizing the mega cake event.

“Of course India will win” –that is how confident Satinder Singh is, who brought French cuisine to Ludhiana sometime back and there is no looking back.

Chefs Aggarwal and Jeeva are already counting the dough and the fruits required and their cake-talk is itself tempting enough.

So, to allow Ludhianvis to taste the best and the largest cake in town in the history of the city, India must win, hopes Harjinder Singh, with fingers crossed and prayers on his lips. “This cake will be Punjab’s tribute to the game of cricket, and we invite cricket fans to enjoy the magic of the Hot Breads’ 100 kg Cricket Cake, wraps up Harjinder Singh in his suave, soft-spoken manner.

If you thought that this was the end of it all, watch out for what is in store if India wins the World Cup at Hot Breads. Till then, Bon Appetit and enjoy cricket.

For more details, visit

or Call: Harjinder Singh at 9855523333

SP and SHO suspended for removing a Sikh’s turban in Mohali

March 31st, 2011

Mohali Superintendent of Police (SP) – Detective Pritam Singh and Phase VIII Station House Officer (SHO) Sub-Inspector Kul Bhushan were placed under suspension on Wednesday evening with immediate effect. Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who also holds the Home Affairs portfolio, suspended the police officials for allegedly “hurting the sentiments of Sikhs by removing the turban of a Sikh protester during a protest staged by retrenched rural veterinary pharmacists and class IV employees near the PCA Stadium, Mohali, on Monday”.

Taking a serious view of the incident, Sukhbir also ordered a magisterial inquiry into the “disrespect shown to the Sikh religion”.

“We will take stern action against anyone found guilty of showing disrespect to turban or any religious symbol of the Sikhs or other communities. There is absolutely zero tolerance to any such act of this nature committed by anyone, regardless of the position held by the guilty. No one will be spared in this regard,” asserted Sukhbir.

Hot Breads, Ludhiana – Walk the Cake talk

March 26th, 2011

The bubbling Punjabi spirit got a French touch. The modern Punjabi’s life of fun and frolic now has a cosmopolitan haute lifestyle with the best of cakes and everything else to go with it. Young, soft-spoken Harjinder Singh who runs Hot Breads says, “We create magic with cakes.”
Located in the Sarabha Nagar upmarket, Hot Breads is Ludhiana’s own bakery, started more than a decade ago, when this city did not have one. Today you see the young and old enjoying the delectable delicacies, with mothers bringing in their children, to give them a preview of the wide range of cakes, breads, sandwiches, pizzas, buns and rolls. Harjinder Singh and his team provide custom designed gourmet cakes, which adds to the craze at your birthday or anniversary or the ‘Simply Punjabi’ fun occasion to relish French cuisine so ably served at Hot Breads. This hot spot of Ludhiana is online too so you don’t miss out the latest. This month it is going to be Honey Almond cakes. To know more, log on to and enjoy the French cuisine at your friendly neighbourhood boulangerie-pâtisserie.

Hot Breads’s cakes serve as a beautiful canvas to express your love and joy for everyone special in your life. Bon appétit.

7 ways to engage with Sangat on your Gurudwara’s Facebook page

March 24th, 2011

A lot of Gurudwaras are beginning to use Facebook pages to connect and communicate with Sangat both inside and outside of the Gurudwara. Unfortunately, though, a lot of Gurudwara Facebook pages look like the Sunday bulletin – lots of announcements and no interaction.

While using Facebook to communicate news to Gurudwara members who are on Facebook is one strategy and if that’s all your Gurudwara does with it’s Facebook page, you’re missing out on the social and relational potential of the social network. So, here are…

7 ways to engage with Sangat on your Gurudwara’s Facebook page

1. Ask open ended spiritual questions. Which Gurbani verse inspires you the most ? Where have you seen Waheguru (God) at work in your life this week ?

2. Share an interesting news article or video & ask for comments.
Australia appoints it’s first Sikh police officer. Share news and videos that interests the Sikh masses. Now that’s engagement!

3. Encourage people to share why they love wearing their Turban or what inspires them about being Sikhs.

4. Post pictures or videos related to events like Nagar Kirtan and Langar during Gurpurabs .

5. Ask people to share something about themselves. How often do they visit the Gurudwara ? In future how are they willing to contribute to the Gurudwara ?

6. Ask people to share a photo. Recently a church did a series on marriage and asked people to send wedding pictures to the church for use in the service. We can also asked people to post pictures of their Anand Karaj to the Gurudwara’s Facebook page.

7. Post content from Kirtan Darbars and Samagams. Notes, audio, or video of the message are great too. Try to add a comment or question that will provoke discussion.

Remember, don’t just start the conversation and run. Engaging with people means respond to comments.

Hola Mahalla, the Sikh version of Holi

March 20th, 2011

Source: SikhiWiki
In 2011, Hola Mahalla falls on 20 Mar; in 2012 on 9 Mar in 2013 on 28 Mar

Hola Mohalla or Hola Mahalla or simply Hola is a Sikh festival that takes place on the first of the lunar month of Chet which usually falls in March. This, by a tradition estabished by Guru Gobind Singh, follows the Hindu festival of Holi by one day; Hola is the masculine form of the feminine sounding Holi. The word “Mohalla” is derived from the Arabic root hal (alighting, descending) and is a Punjabi word that implies an organized procession in the form of an army column. But unlike Holi, when people playfully sprinkle colored powder, dry or mixed in water, on each other, the Guru made Holla Mohalla an occasion for the Sikhs to demonstrate their martial skills in simulated battles.

Together the words “Hola Mohalla” stands for “mock fight”. During this festival, processions are organised in the form of army type columns accompanied by war-drums and standard-bearers and proceeding to a given spot or moving in state from one Gurdwara to another. The custom originated in the time of Guru Gobind Singh who held the first such mock fight event at Anandpur in February 1701.

The foothills of the Shivaliks in Ropar district of Punjab’s north-eastern region, especially around the historic townships of Anandpur Sahib and Kiratpur Sahib, have, since 1701 been playing host to Holla Mohalla. Recently, the Indian government accorded it the status of a national festival. The military exercise, which was personally supervised by the guru, was carried out on the bed of the River Charan Ganga with the famous Hindu temple of Mata Naina Devi in the Shivaliks as the backdrop.

This annual festival held at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab and now replicated at other Gurudwaras worldwide was started by the tenth Sikh Guru, as a gathering of Sikhs for military exercises and mock battles on the day following the festival of Holi at Anandpur Sahib. It reminds the people of valour and defence preparedness, concepts dear to the Tenth Guru who was at that time defending the Sikhs from the attacks of the Mughal empire and the hill kings.

On this three-day grand festival, mock battles, exhibitions, display of weapons, etc., are held followed by Kirtan, music and poetry competitions. The participants perform daring feats, such as Gatka (mock encounters with real weapons), tent pegging, bareback horse-riding, standing erect on two speeding horses and various other feats of bravery.

There are also a number of Darbars where the Guru Granth Sahib is present and Kirtan and religious lectures take place. On the last day a long procession, led by Panj Pyaras, starts from Takhat Keshgarh Sahib, one of the five Sikh religious seats, and passes through various important Gurudwaras like Qila Anandgarh, Lohgarh Sahib, Mata Jitoji and terminates at the Takhat (Keshgarh).

For people visiting Anandpur Sahib, langars (voluntary community kitchens) are organized by the local people as a part of sewa(community service). Raw materials like wheat flour, rice, vegetables, milk and sugar are provided by the villagers living nearby. Women volunteer to cook and others take part in cleaning utensils and other manual tasks that need to be carried out. Traditional cuisine is served to the pilgrims who eat while sitting in rows on the ground. (Pangat).

The Festival of Hola Mahalla

Based on an article by M S. Ahluwalia

An enlightened person has no identification. Their values are universal and in tune with the timeless state of existence. This timeless state of existence can be given any name like Akal Purukh, God, Raam, Rahim, Hari, Parmaatma etc. But these names point to the same ultimate truth. It is useless to worship any name unless it becomes your own experience. In our own times, developing countries like India have brought tourism into the forefront, owing to the twin advantages of employment generation and capacity to earn foreign exchange. Recent studies, however, have also pointed out the negative effects such as the cultural erosion (of ones own identity), materialism, increase in crime, social conflicts, overcrowding (of the tourists?) and environmental deterioration, which have not only proved counter productive in some cases but have also led to strong opposition, especially in the case of the sexual based-tourism as has developed in Tailand and other under-developed countries, including even India (which involves profit seeking adults enslaving the young and innocent children of many ‘third world countries”. The only remedial measures to this is the strict adherence to the development of community/religious tourism and its allied branches.

In this brief paper an attempt is made to study the prospects and impact of community/religious tourism and its potential to develop and prosper. The case study is related to the Sikh community’s celebrations of Hola Mahalla at Anandpur Sahib (the birth-place of the Khalsa in 1699) in Punjab, an event that coincides with the Indian festival of Holi celebrated all over North India. This study concludes that community oriented tourism, such as ones similar to Hola Mahalla, can bring economic benefits while promoting partnership with others even as we protect the unique Sikh cultural heritage. The paper briefly discusses the history of Hola Mahalla festival, which has been declared a State festival by the Government of Punjab. It also analyses the importance of community tourism and its impact on economic and socio-cultural environment vis-a vis the host community and tourism development.


Hola Mahalla or simply Hola is a Sikh festival, which takes place on the first of the lunar month of Chet, which usually falls in March. This follows the Hindu festival of Holi; Hola is the masculine form of the feminine noun Holi. Mahalia, derived from the Arabic root hal (alighting, descending), is a Punjabi word that implies an organized procession in the form of an army column accompanied by war drums and standard-bearers, and proceeding to a given location or moving in state from one Gurdwara to another.

This custom originated in the time of Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708) who held the first march at Anandpur on Chet vadi 1, 1757 Bk (22nd February, 1701). Unlike Holi, when people playfully sprinkle colored powders, dry or mixed in water, on each other the Guru made Hola Mahalla an occasion for the Sikhs to demonstrate their martial skills in simulated battles. This was probably done forestalling a grimmer struggle against the imperial power following the battle of Ninnohgarh in 1700. Holla Mahalla became an annual event held in an open ground near Holgarh, a Fort across the rivulet Charan Ganga, northwest of Anandpur Sahib.

The popularity of this festival may be judged from the fact that out of five Sikh public holidays requested by the Khalsa Diwan, of Lahore in 1889, the Government approved only two – Holla Mahalla and the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. Hola Mahalla is presently the biggest festival at Anandpur. It will be appropriate here to discuss briefly the town and the participants of this festival.


Anandpur (lit. City of Bliss) is situated on one of the lower spurs of the Shiwalik Hills in Ropar District of Punjab and is well connected with the rest of the country both by road and rail. It lies 31 Kms north of Rupnagar (Ropar) and 29 Kms south of Nangal Township. Being one of the supremely important pilgrimage centers of the Sikhs it has been reverently called Anandpur Sahib. It was here at Anandpur that on Baisakhi of 1699, Guru Gobind Singh gave birth to the Khalsa and baptised the the original Panj Piare and inaugurated the order of Saint-Soldiers (holy warriors) who pledged their dedication to defend, not only Sikhs, but thir fellow countrymen and their religious rights as well, in the tradition of one of India’s greatest Martyrs Guru Tegh Bahadur who gave his life in the defense of the Hinduism on behalf of the Pandits of Kashmir.

The order of the Khalsa, at the wish of Guru Gobind Singh’s would henceforth be distinguished by five symbols, called the 5 Ks, viz. kes (uncut hair), kangha (comb), kachcha (a pair of shorts), kara (a steel bracelet) and kirpan (sword) so that they could easily be recognized by anyone under attack. Sikhs were further instructed to live to the highest ethical standards, and to be always ready to fight tyranny and injustice.

Holla Mahalla festival

Having been the abode of the last two human Gurus of the Sikhs for for more than 20 years, Anandpur Sahib was witness to many momentous events of Sikh history, including the Hola Mahalla festival, which is an annual feature. The festival has now lost much of its original military significance, but Sikhs in large numbers still assemble at Anandpur Sahib on this day and an impressive and colorful procession is taken out in which the Nihangs, in their traditional panoply, form the vanguard while parading their skill in the use of arms, horsemanship, tent-pegging, and other war-like sports.

Warlike sports of the Nihangs

Originally known as Akalis, the Nihangs or Nihang Singhs are endearingly designated as Guru’s Knights or the Guru’s beloved. They still carry the military ambience and heroic style that was cultivated during the lifetime of Guru Gobind Singh. Nihangs constitute a distinctive order among the Sikhs and are readily recognized by their dark blue loose apparel and their ample, peaked turbans festooned with quoits, insignia of the Khalsa and rosaries, all made of steel. They are always armed, and are usually seen mounted heavily laden with weapons such as swords, daggers, spears, rifles, shotguns, and pistols.

The word Nihang can be traced back to Persian nihang (alligator, sword) or to Sanskrit nishanka (fearless, carefree). In the former sense, it seems to refer to the reckless courage members of this order displayed in battle. In Guru Gobind Singh’s writing, Var Sri Bhagauti Ji 47, it is used for swordsmen warriors of the vanguard. Whatever may be the origin the word Nihang, it signifies the characteristic qualities of the clan- their freedom from fear of danger or death, readiness for action and non-attachment to worldly possessions. During the eighteenth century, one of the confederate armies of the Dal Khalsa, constituted of the Nishanvalia misl chief, Naina Singh, whose style of tightly tied tall turban with a dumala gained currency and those who adopted the style were called Akali Nihangs.

The self-discipline and privilege they gained of convening at Akal Takht general assemblies of the Khalsa, brought the Nihangs into importance far out of proportion to their numbers or political authority. In the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839), the Akali Nihangs maintained their independent existence. Their leader Phoola Singh Nihang, then custodian of the Akal Takht, was the voice of the religious and the moral conscience of the State, and at times he even censured and chastised the sovereign himself.

The Nihangs are today divided into several groups, each with its own Chaoni (cantonment), but they are loosely organized into two Dals (forces) – Buddha Dal and the Taruna Dal. These names were initially given to the two sections into which the Khalsa army was divided in 1733. Buddha Dal has its Chaoni at Talvandi Sabo in Bhatinda District, while the main Chaoni of the Taruna Dal Nihangs is at Baba Bakala. in Amritsar District.

The week long festival of Hola Mahalla concludes at Gurdwara Holgarh Sahib (which stands on the site of Holgarh Fort), one and half Km northwest of town across the Charan Ganga rivulet. It was here that Guru Gobind Singh introduced in the spring of 1701 the celebration of Holla on the day following the Hindu festival of Holi . Unlike the playful sprinkling of colors as is done during Holi, the Guru made Holla an occasion to demonstrate skills in simulated battle, which is presently carried out by the Nihangs.

The Nihangs assemble in thousands at Anandpur Sahib in March every year to celebrate Hola Mahalla. On this occasion they hold tournaments of military skills, including mock battles. The most spectacular event at the Hola Mahalla is the magnificent procession of Nihangs on horses and elephants and on foot carrying a variety of traditional and modern weapons and demonstrating their skill in using them. The Hola Mahalla festival is unique and distinguishable from other festivals in that the Nihang have tried to preserve the traditional form and content as established during its inception, and strictly observed by the Akalis for more than three centuries.

The martial arts exhibited by the Nihangs provide a picture of their skills and traditions to the visitors as well as the tourist. Because of its great historical, socio-religious and military significance, the Hola Mahalla festival can impressively contribute to a greater awareness of Sikh heritage as well as foster sustainable development of community tourism.


Anandpur Sahib can be developed as a tourist destination not to please a particular community but to develop it as a center of India’s rich socio-cultural heritage devoted exclusively to the appreciation of physical abilities of a martial people. It will naturally sustain national and international tourism.

A culturally conscious policy to develop Hola Mahalla as a tourist event should be formed by the State to focus on promoting cultural heritage while providing greater economic benefits to a larger section of the local population. The policy suggested can bring equitable economic benefits, increased community participation, all round development of the area and above all, the preservation of India’s cultural heritage.

With thanks to: Dr. M.S. Ahluwalia who is Former Professor & Chairman, Department of History, H.P. University, Shimla (India) with over 30 years of teaching experience at the post-graduate level. Presently he is Senior Fellow at Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi. Dr. Ahluwalia has authored six books and currently two books are in press. He actively participates in international conferences presenting papers on varied topics including history and Sikhism.

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Hola falls on:

  • 2011 20 Mar
  • 2012 9 Mar
  • 2013 28 Mar
  • 2014 17 Mar
  • 2015 6 Mar
  • 2016 24 Mar
  • 2017 13 Mar
  • 2018 2 Mar
  • 2019 21 Mar

Tribute to Mom and Dad on their 25th Wedding Anniversary

March 19th, 2011

Jarnail Singh Kukreja & Devender Jeet Kaur Kukreja (25th Wedding Anniversary)
They tied the nupital knot on 18 November,1984

Good News: Punjab agrees to shut liquor shops

March 15th, 2011

Source : Times of India
Parvesh sharma, TNN

PATIALA: Bowing before the anti-liquor struggle of various villages in the state, Punjab excise department has decided to close the liquor shops in 32 villages and shift them in 10 others. As many as 72 panchayats have passed resolutions to shut vends in their respective villages and excise authorities will take a final decision about remaining resolutions in a day or two.

Though initially the Punjab government and excise authorities did not pay heed to the anti-liquor resolutions, but when The Times of India started a special campaign “Brewing Trouble”, the concerned authorities woke up from their deep slumber.

As per Section 40 of the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act, the panchayats have powers to close liquor shops in areas under their jurisdiction by passing resolutions. Last year around 45 panchayats had filed anti-liquor resolutions, but the excise authorities had only accepted around 23 of these.

This year, the figure of anti-liquor panchayats jumped to 72. But when excise authorities announced that panchayat of villages, from where police made seizures during the last two years, could not close liquor shops in areas under their jurisdiction, the panchayats had announced their decision to knock the doors of Punjab and Haryana High Court.

“Liquor has ruined hundreds of lives in our villages. We request Punjab government to accept all 72 resolutions so that the number could increase in coming years,” said Dr AS Mann from Scientific Awareness And Social Forum NGO, who has been running a special anti liquor campaign.

“There was no liquor shop in our village since 1952. But in 2008 the liqour mafia in connivance with police opened one without the approval of panchayat.

We request Punjab government to help us in closing the outlet,” said panchayat members of Narinderpura village. Punjab commissioner of excise and taxation A Venu Prasad said they have accepted the resolutions of 32 panchayats to close down liquor outlets in their area while vends have been moved outside in 10 villages.

“We will take a final decision on the remaining 30 resolutions in a day or two. We have been discussing the matter with the concerned panchayats and all will get justice,” he added.

There are many villages where people have died due to excessive drinking. In Narinderpura village of Mansa, 15 residents died due to liquor-related incidents in last some years while the number of addicts is also increasing due to easy availability of liquor.

Electrical wires hanging in Sarabha Nagar market, Ludhiana are dangerous

March 15th, 2011

SOURCE : Times of India

LUDHIANA: Seemingly unconcerned about the safety of city residents, officers of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) have turned a blind eye to the electrical wires hanging in Sarabha Nagar market that pose a threat to shopkeepers, restaurant owners and visitors alike.

Shopkeepers said despite several complaints registered by the market association, the officers have not taken the problem seriously. They said there are frequent incidents of short circuit that creates panic among the visitors and they constantly fear the occurrence of mishaps in the market, which is one of the posh shopping centres in the city.

Members of Sarabha Nagar Market Association rued that they have not left any stone unturned for solving the problem but all in vain. They alleged that neither the power department nor any municipal councillors have paid attention to their grievances. The shopkeepers said since the wires were hanging low, they tied them together with a rope but it is not a permanent solution to the problem.

However, deputy chief engineer Rachpal Singh said, ”Basically it is a communication problem. People should contact me directly instead of shuttling between other departments and authorities.”

Meanwhile, shoppers visiting the market say the hanging wires are a great inconvenience and even a safety hazard. ”Though the shopkeepers have lifted the wires to some extent, they are still uncovered. There are chances of short circuit anytime, especially during rainy season. If the authorities are unable to solve the problem of prominent markets like Sarabha Nagar then how could they solve the problem of other markets situated in congested areas,” said Manpreet, a student.

Sikhs pray for Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami victims

March 14th, 2011

Members of Sikh community gathered in large numbers at the Golden Temple in Amritsar on Monday to offer special prayers for the victims of tsunami that struck northeast Japan on Friday.

Gurbachan Singh, the high priest of the Golden Temple, said: “Sikh community here today prays for the people who lost their homes and businesses and for the peace of the souls who lost their lives in the disaster. We have to help victims and their families in whatever possible manner”. Japan is reeling under the devastating effects of a massive earthquake, measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale. Japan’s Meteorological Agency on Sunday raised the magnitude of the earthquake to 9.0, making it the largest to hit the country in 140 years and fifth most powerful to hit the world in the past century. The country is facing a humanitarian crisis, with millions of people left without water, electricity, homes or heat.

Tens of thousands of people have taken shelter in schools and stadiums to escape near-freezing temperatures. The Japanese Government has mobilised a widespread rescue effort to deliver food, water and fuel, and pull stranded survivors from buildings and damaged homes.

In 1933, a magnitude 8.1 quake in Japan’s northeast Pacific coast, Sanriku had killed over 3,000 people. Last year fishing facilities were damaged by tsunami, caused by a strong tremor in Chile.

Japan is located in one of the world’s most seismically active areas. The country accounts for about 20 percent of the world’s earthquakes. (ANI)

SOURCE: Sify News

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