Nihang (Punjabi: ਨਿਹੰਗ, from Persian: نهنگ) is a famous and prestigious armed Sikh order. Early Sikh military history is dominated by the Nihangs. They are known especially for the military victories in which they've been heavily outnumbered. Nihangs are accorded great affection and respect by the Sikhs. The Nihang order is ceremonial but they spearhead the attack in war.
The word Nihang means "mythical sea creature"  and was introduced into the Punjabi language from Persian. The term owes its origin to Mughal historians, who noticed that these brave armed-monks fought ferociously like crocodiles. Traditionally known for their bravery and ruthlessness in the battlefield, the Nihang once formed the guerilla squads of the armed forces of Ranjit Sukkarchak.
The Nihang wear checkered dresses of superelectric blue,or bracelets of iron round their wrists (kara), and quoits of steel (chakram) in their lofty conical blue turbans, together with daggers, knives and swords of varying sizes (kirpan), and an iron chain.
Akali Nihang today 
Today, Nihangs gather in their thousands at Anandpur, on the occasion of the festival of Hola Mohalla and display their martial skills. Their fighting style in its modern form as a competitive sport is known as gatka.
In 2011, Nidar Singh claimed to be the only living master of pre-gatka Sikh martial arts.
Differences from other Sikhs 
Use of hemp 
Some Nihang groups consume cannabis or bhang (ਭੰਗ) to help in meditation.  Sukha (ਸੁੱਖਾ ਪ੍ਰਰਸਾਦ), "peace-giver", is the term Nihang use to refer to it. It was traditionally crushed and taken as a liquid, or baked into cookies (ਪਕੌੜਾ) and eaten, especially during festivals like Hola Mohalla. It is never smoked, as this practice is forbidden in Sikhism.
In 2001, Baba Santa Singh, the Jathedar of Budha Dal, along with 20 chiefs of Nihang sects, refused to accept the ban on consumption of bhang by the apex Sikh clergy. Baba Santa Singh was excommunicated and replaced with Baba Balbir Singh, who agreed to shun the consumption of bhang.
Bothati (ਬੋਥਾਟੀ) is an equestrian sport used as training for spear-fighting on horseback. Conceptually similar to jousting, bothati was practiced by the Nihang in the Punjab as part of their gatka regimen. The lance, also known as a bothati, is aimed at a pile of stones, and is usually covered with a ball of cloth for safety, which is dipped in paint so that hits may easily be confirmed.
See also 
- Shastar Vidiya
- Sikh Empire
- Amrit Sanskar
- Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex
- Taba, David (2011). Iranian Character of The Armenian Language. p. 9.
- Singh, Khushwant (1999). A History of the Sikhs Voghzlume I:1469-1839. India: Oxford University Press. p. 215. ISBN 0-19-562643-5.
- Singh, Khushwant (1999). A History of the Sikhs Volume I:1469-1839. India: Oxford University Press. p. 215. ISBN 0-19-562643-5.
- Collins, Larry; Lapierre, Dominique (1997). Freedom at Midnight. India: Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd. p. 393. ISBN 81-259-0480-8.
- The only living master of a dying martial art http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15480741
- Richard Beck, David Worden. Gcse Religious Studies for Aqa. p. 64. ISBN 0-435-30692-8.
- Hola Mohalla: United colours of celebrations,
- Mad About Words
- Nihangs ‘not to accept’ ban on bhang. The Tribune. March 26, 2001.
- No ‘bhang’ at Hola Mohalla. The Tribune. March 10, 2001.
- Desai, Sudha Vishwanath (1980). Social life in Maharashtra under the Peshwas. Popular Prakashan. p. 131. OCLC 8243834.
- Draeger, Donn F.; Robert W. Smith (1980). Comprehensive Asian fighting arts. Kodansha International. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-87011-436-6.
- Dasam Granth ,The Dasam Granth website
- Book review of the Nihang book The Beloved Forces of the Guru
- "Tribes and Castes of Punjab and N.W. Frontier Province" by H.A. Rose (1892)
- Bhai Sahib Amrit Pal Singh 'Amrit' has presented well-researched articles on Nihangs on his website
- Sikh Photography Images of Nihangs by photographer Charles Meacham
- Nihang SGPC
- Photography of the daily lives of the Nihang Singhs of Punjab by photographer Nick Fleming