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Rare Photographs of Nihangs


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I have received lots of mails about the pictures I posted of the Akalis at Amritsar - obviously a topic everyone is interested in ! -

Here are some more photographs - I tend to save and collect pics when ever I see them - sometimes I forget to note the source - usually because I am so excited about the pic !!! ( Sad aren't I ! ) - some of the websites these pics come from no longer exist or I have long forgotten them - Sorry !

* A Bombay Sikh - Photograph taken by Colonel A C Yate in 1904


* A picture - described as 19th century - I found on ebay - it shows 3 Akalis by a river - perhaps taking ishnan - The photo sold for a lot of money - out of my league !


* A slightly damaged photograph from The Gertrude Bell Archive - taken in 1903 it shows Akalis with very tall Dastar Boongas with numerous shasters and Chakars around their necks - on the walkway walking towards the Harmandar Sahib


* An Akali Baba - 1860s


* A Nihang - note the small kirpan on a gatra rather than in the kamarkasa - also note the checked chadar or Loi - in the illustrations published in 'sicques,tigers or thieves' it can be seen that Tara Singh , Bhag Singh and Amar Singh are all wearing checked 'Loi' or kamarkasa - and in some accounts Nihangs are described as wearing checked garments.- is this an example ? - I have a friend whose Grandad is a Nihang - when he visted England in the 1980s all he wore throughout his stay was what he wore in India - Dumalla , Large Kachhera and Loi (big shawl) - regardless of how cold it got - he never wore a kurta / shirt. - I remember he used to do katha of the Hukumnama - he had a beautiful voice - He's still well and healthy in his nineties!


* Portrait of an Akali - taken by Col. Willoughby Wallace Hooper in the 1860s - found on the Sothebys website


* An akali - sometimes referred to as 'The Patiala Akali' - from the Bell Archive - taken at the Delhi Darbar 1903


* From the Royal Archives - The visit of The Prince & Princess of Wales to Amritsar in 1905


* From the Bell Archive - 'The Sikh Tamasha' held in Chandni Chawk Delhi on the Shaheedi purb of Guru Tegh Bahadur - in 1903 - it coincided with the Delhi Durbar- If you look closely in the foreground is an Akali on a pony - he has his back to the camera - but you can see his impressive Dastar Boonga and 'Farhra' - flag like farla - he is surrounded by Sikh Troops and Nobles of the Phulkian States. I believe it is Akali Jai Singh.



*** Sincere Apologies if I have 'stolen' anyones 'intellectual property' - I have been asked to post any pics I had - I thought as this is an awareness promoting 'Community' rather than a money making endeavour it would be OK - * Admin Please remove the pics if they contravene any forum or copyright rules . Thanks .

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Akali Phoola Singh - 1800's


Akali Sikhs

"After luncheon the Major took us to Jind, and there we saw a series of strange gentlemen. Sikhs they were, most of them dressed in blue, and bearing war implements and steel rings. They had circles of steel round their necks, similar circles round their turbans. At first it was a puzzle to me why they should carry these hoops; they were flat like quoits, had a sharp knife-edge, and appeared in the most unexpected places - round the neck, round the waist, and on their turbans. Were they worn for decorative reasons? I discovered that the hoops were used simply as implements of war. They are deadly weapons. The Sikhs throw them at their enemies, hurl them along edgeways as you would a quoit, and cut off heads as easily as you would slice a lemon." - The Durbar, Mortimer Menpes (1903)


Akali Nihang Singh - 1800's

He is holding in his right hand a Jamdar Tega(Kora), which name loosely means 'victory of death' - as well as two bows, 2 swords, a matchlock gun, breastplate, as well as a host of other smaller weapons.

Then an Akali, a wild-eyed, wild-haired Sikh devotee in the blue-checked clothes of his faith, with polished-steel quoits glistening on the cone of his tall blue turban, stalked past, returning from a visit to one of the independent Sikh States, where he had been singing the ancient glories of the Khalsa to College-trained princelings in top-boots and white-cord breeches. Kim was careful not to irritate that man; for the Akali's temper is short and his arm quick. Chapter 4 Kim - Rudyard Kipling


Sikh Akalis at Amritsar

".... a party of Akhalees (fanatics) on foot stopped and fought us, in some instances very fiercely. One fine bold 'Nihung' beat off four sowars one after another, and kept them all at bay. I then went at him myself, fearing that he would kill one of them. He instantly rushed to meet me like a tiger, closed with me, yelling 'Wah Gooroo ji', and accompanying each shout with a terrific blow of his tulwar. I guarded the three or four first, but he pressed so closely to my horse's rein that I could not get a fair cut in return. At length I pressed in my turn upon him so sharply that he missed his blow, and I caught it from him, and cut him down with the right, having received no further injury than a severe cut across the fingers; I never beheld such desperation and fury in my life. It was not human scarcely..." - Twelve years of a soldier's life in India, William Hodson (1859)


One rare painting of Saint -Soldier Akali Phula Singh


A very old painting of Akali Phula Singh printed in 1923





Buddha Dal Nice ones from Narsingha's old Picture site




Postcard - two Akali Sikhs - early 1900's


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Members of the Akalis (Timeless Ones), armed Sikh zealots, showing their distinctive blue tunics and conical turbans, and the steel rings they wore about their wrists.

Eden, Emily (1797-1869), Dickinson, Lowes Cato (1819-1908)


Akali, a member of the most strict of the Sikh orders, founded by Guru Govind Singh. A painting from a manuscript of Tashrih al-aqvam, an account of the origins and occupations of some of the sects, castes and tribes of India.

Skinner, Colonel James


Dastar Bunga at V&A Museum


An akali and his wife

From the Hastings albums, this company drawing shows an akali and his wife. Opaque watercolour.Kashmir, c.1820


Sikh Akali Infantry Assorted Weapons Models



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On the Left Again son,

Maharaja Ranjit Singh listening to Granth Sahib being recited near the Golden Temple. Painting in oils by August Schoefft, Vienna, c.1850. Princess Bamba Collection, Lahore Fort.


Bit modern but sweet

Nihang & "Sea of Turbans"

Artist: Kirti Age: 13 Akshay Pratisthan School New Delhi, INDIA


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AAWWW Bless ! - that kirti picture is sweet !

Here are some of my Favourite pics of Nihang Babas

Loving the 'Top Gun' shades !


Cheeky Smile - Impressive set of whiskers !




Squeezing the "Sher Kan" - Shaheedi Degh preparation


A painting depicting Nihangs 1885


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ਤੁਰੀ ਸੰਖ ਬਾਜੇ ॥ ਮਹਾ ਬੀਰ ਸਾਜੇ ॥

The trumpet and conch resound and the great warriors look impressive.

ਨਚੇ ਤੁੰਦ ਤਾਜੀ ॥ ਮਚੇ ਸੂਰ ਗਾਜੀ ॥੧੯॥

The swift-running horses dance and the brave warriors are excited.19.

(Sri Dasam Granth Sahib pg 50)



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I got these pics from the kirtan hub (DC++), they don’t have much information only what they’ve been named as..

4 Nihangs Amritsar 1903



Akali Macauliffe


Akali Phola Singh Ivory


akalis by van ousten


Akhalees from Ian Knight


Baba Gurdial Singh Ji


Baba Jai Singh, Delhi Durbar 1903



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Guest SAdmin

eyeball to eye ball is hard core picture man..looks nihang singh going kick some &4@ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you watch it carefully then that picture is "Slap" to face? Watch the slap which is half cut of police man.

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Baba Gurdial Singh was a NIhang from a village just a few miles from Chamkaur Sahib. That picture was take on 22 Dec 1963. I know this becuase it's from my mum and dad's wedding album and Baba Gurdial Singh did the Lavaan!


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