Char Dham Yatra 2024

Kanwar Yatra Mela in Haridwar

The Kanvar, also known as the Kanwar or Kavad Yatra, is an annual journey made by Shiva devotees, also known as Kanvarias or "Bhole," to the Hindu pilgrimage sites of Sultanganj in Bihar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand, and Haridwar. Millions of pilgrims take holy water they have collected from the Ganga hundreds of kilometres to their local religious shrines or to particular temples like Meerut’s Pura Mahadeva and Augharnath, or Jharkhand’s Kashi Vishwanath, Baidyanath, and Deoghar.

Kanwar is a term used to describe a kind of religious events in which people transport water from a sacred spring ritualistically in containers strung from either side of a pole. The pilgrimage gets its name from a device called a kanwar, and although the Ganga is frequently the source of the water, it can also be local alternatives. Shiva, also known as Bhola or Bhole Baba, is the intended recipient of the offering (innocent old man). As a result, the pilgrim is a bhola, or bhole in the plural.

Even though the Kanwar is not frequently mentioned as an organised event in canonical writings, English travellers to the north Indian plains in the early nineteenth century recall seeing Kanwar pilgrims frequently. This indicates that the phenomena occurred at the time. Up until the late 1980s, the Yatra was a modest endeavour carried out by a select few saints and senior devotees.

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Today, with an estimated 12 million participants in the 2010 and 2011 festivals, the Kanwar pilgrimage to Haridwar in particular has developed into India’s largest yearly religious gathering. The followers hail from Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and other nearby states including Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, and Bihar.

The government has implemented strict security measures, and traffic on National Highway 58, which connects Delhi and Haridwar, has been detoured at this time. The custom has resulted in an annual Maha Shivaratri pilgrimage outside of India, where 500,000 Hindus travel to Ganga Talao in Mauritius, many of them wearing only their bare feet and carrying Kanvars.

Significance of Kanvar Yatra

The Kanvar Yatra is an annual journey made by followers of Shiva, also known as Kanvarias, to the sacred Hindu sites of Gangotri, Gaumukh, and Haridwar in Uttarakhand. The celebrations take place in the monsoon month of Shraawan (July -August). According to the Hindu calendar, the Kanwar Mela was first observed in the month of “Bhaado.” However, the Kanwad Yatra has been held in the month of Shravan since 1960 till the month of Dusshera.This Yatra travels to a number of places in Uttarakhand. The Kanwad Yatra to Neelkanth gained a lot of popularity after the 1990s and attracted a lot of devotees.

One of the largest religious gatherings in North India is the Kanwar Mela, commonly referred to as the Shravan Mela. Women take part in the Kanwar Yatra as well as males. In the Hindu Puranas, the churning of the ocean of milk is connected to the Kanwar Yatra. Lord Shiva agreed to breathe in poison when it was released before Amrita and the world began to burn due to its heat. However, he began to feel the poison’s negative energy after inhaling it. Ravana, a devoted disciple of Shiva during the Treta Yuga, meditated. Using a kanwar, he transported sacred Ganges water and used it to fill the Shiva temple in Puramahadev. Shiva is thus freed from the poison’s unfavourable force.

According to the second mythology of the Kanwad Yatra, Ravana, a devoted follower of Lord Shiva, used a Kanwar to transport sacred Ganges water, which he then spilled onto Shiva’s temple at Puramahadev during the month of Saavan to free Shiva from the poison’s bad energy. Since then, Saavan has become a time when Shiva’s followers perform the tradition of pouring Ganga water on the Shiv Lingas all over the world.

Saffron Color Waves Through Haridwar City

A common sight in north India during the Hindu holy month of Shravan, also known as Saavan, is Shiva devotees singing bhajans to Shiva, one of the Gods of the Holy Trinity, as they promenade in saffron hues toward their destination. The Yatra will begin this year in July and last for two weeks before reaching full circle in August.

Roads During the Kanwar Yatra

During this sacred yatra, the Kanwar travel in groups. While the majority of Kanwariyas complete this trip on foot, some also use bicycles, cars, scooters, jeeps, and mini trucks. Countless pilgrims from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, and other regions of India are invited to participate in the Kanwar Yatra. Many rules were implemented the previous year to manage the traffic during the Kanwar Yatra. During the Kanwad Yatra, there may be detours on the bus lines that travel to and from Haridwar, Rishikesh, and Dehradun.

The Kanwar Yatra Regulations

The height of Kanwar greater than seven feet will be prohibited; and No one will be permitted to participate in the Kanwar Yatra without a valid identity card. Songs that encourage religious fervour will not be played, and sticks (laathi-dande) and other weapons are not permitted to be carried by Kanwariyas.

The Kanwar Yatra Journey

Although “Kanwariyas” now travel along national highways, the Kanwar Yatra to Neelkanth still starts from the historic BadrinathKedarnath path. The majority of the Kanwarias in the Delhi-NCR area go along NH-58 from Ghaziabad to Rishikesh. For hundreds of kilometres, the Kanwarias must travel to get to the Neelkanth Temple. Before moving on to the Neelkanth temple in Rishikesh for the Kanwar Yatra to pour holy water on the Shiv Linga, the Kanwariyas fill the Kanwars at Ramkund or from the holy Ganga river.

There are many transportation options available, making it simple to get from Delhi to Neelkanth Kanwar Yatra. There are numerous bus, cab, and train options accessible from New Delhi to Rishikesh, so you can take one of those, or you can reserve a seat in one of those modes of transportation. There are 32 kilometres between Rishikesh and the Neelkanth Temple.

Government of Uttarakhand Action Towards Kanwar Yatra

For the yatra, Haridwar and the surrounding territories are divided into 133 sectors, 31 zones, and 12 super zones, totalling over 10,000 security personnel to maintain strict security, drones and CCTV cameras will be employed, and social media will be watched.

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