FORTS OF ANANDPUR SAHIB
There are five Qilas (forts) of Anandpur sahib (sometimes quoted as six); these are the defensive forts which were constructed by Guru Gobind Singh, during the 25 years that the Guru spent at Anandpur sahib.
The neighboring hill Rajas and their Mughal allies became increasingly hostile towards the success of the Sikh community and their associates thriving in their midst in this region. Seeing the need to protect Anandpur from its hostile neighbors the Guru ordered the construction of a series of defensive forts (Qilas in the Persian language).
Sometimes, Keshgarh sahib is not counted in the total and so reference is made to the “Five forts” of Anandpur sahib; one central fort with five others encircling the town. There were, as well, several other minor forts around the city, but the five forts encircling the fort surrounding the city were the main defensive forts that bore the series of attacks and siege that led to the Guru’s eventual decision to leave the city under its attackers solemn promises of safe passage to Panjab.
The forts constructed by Guru Gobind Singh at Anandpur sahib are:
Qila Lohgarh Sahib
Qila Holgarh Sahib
Qila Anandgarh Sahib
Qila Fatehgarh Sahib
Qila Taragarh sahib
Keshgarh is the name given to the main fort that the tenth Master constructed in Anandpur sahib in 1699. The fort is now the Takhat called Keshgarh Sahib. This Gurdwara was one of the five (sometimes quoted as six) forts constructed by Guru Gobind Singh at Anandpur Sahib for the defence of the Sikhs and the community. All the forts were joined together with earthworks and underground tunnels. Sometimes this shrine is not regarded as a fort and the construction is different from the other “proper” five forts.
The construction began in 1689 and took over ten years to complete. Guru Gobind Singh used to hold congregations on this hill. His revelation of the Khalsa and its first initiation (Khande Di Pahul) took place here in 1699. At that time the hill of Keshgarh Sahib was at least 10-15 feat higher than it is today. It was a very strong fort and before reaching the gates of this fort the armies had to capture the fort at Taragarh, Agamgarh, Fatehgarh and Anandgarh. This fort was never taken in the history of Anandpur Sahib, until Guru Gobind Singh ji’s decision to leave the city.
QILA LOHGARH SAHIB(Fort of Steel)
Lohgarh was the second strongest Qila after Qila Anandgarh sahib as it was on southern side of city Guru Sahib had set up a factory for manufacturing of arms. The hill armies attacked city Anandpur sahib many times but hesitated to attack the Qila because of their fear that its gate could not be broken.
It is situated at one and a half kilometre southwest of Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, marks the site of the fort of that name constructed by Guru Gobind Singh to protect the riverside flank of Anandpur. It was here that Bhai Bachchittar Singh faced and turned back a drunken elephant which the hill chiefs, during their siege of Anandpur in 1700, had sent to batter down the gate of this fort. It was in this fort that the arms and ammunition were manufactured.
QILA HOLGARH SAHIB (Fort of Colour)
Agamgarh or Holgarh was the qila where Guru Gobind Singh introduced in the spring of 1701, the celebration of Hola Mahala on the day following the Hindu festival of colour, Holi. Unlike the playful sprinkling of coloured powders or spraying of colored water during Holi, the Guru made Hola Mahalu an occasion for Sikhs to demonstrate their skills at arms in simulated battles. The fort is about one and a half km north-west of the town across the Charan Gariga rivulet. It was the third strongest fort built by Guru Gobind Singh ji.
QILA ANANDGARH SAHIB (Fort of Bliss)
Anandgarh is one from five Kilas Built By Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji for the protection of sikhs from Hill rulers. In Gurudwara Sahib also there is Sacred Baoli Sahib. It is situated in the middle of Shri Anandpur Sahib on another spur, about 800 metres southeast of Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib.
QILA FATEHGARH SAHIB (Fort of Victory)
Fatehgarh was built By Shri Guru Gobind Singh to defend the Anandpur Sahib city in the territory of sahota village. When this Qila was built Sahibzada Fateh Singh Ji was born, hence it was named in his honor as Qila Fatehgarh Sahib. It is situated on the northern outskirts of the town of Anandpur, marks the site of another fortress bearing this name. This Fort reminds long long struggle between the mughals and great defender of ‘Anandpuri’.
QILA TARAGARH SAHIB
Taragarh is situated on the outskirts of Shri Anandpur Sahib. Five km from Shri Anandpur sahib it was built to stop the hill armies in advance. It was built on top of hill from where one can see activities of kehlur for a long distance.