Khalsa (Punjabi: “the pure”) refers to both a special group of initiated Sikh warriors, as well as a community that considers Sikhism as its faith. The Khalsa tradition was initiated in 1699 by the last living Guru of Sikhism, Guru Gobind Singh. Its formation was a key event in the history of Sikhism.
Guru Gobind Singh started the Khalsa tradition after his father had been beheaded for resisting the religious persecution of non-Muslims (mainly Kashmiri Hindus) during the rule of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Guru Gobind Singh created and initiated the Khalsa as a warrior with a duty to protect the innocent from any form of religious persecution. The Khalsa redefined the Sikh tradition from the start. It formulated an initiation ceremony (amrit pahul
, nectar ceremony) and rules of conduct for the Khalsa warriors.