Saturday, October 6, 2012

the "Kanvar Yatra" - sacred cannisters of Lord Shiva


Great to see thousands of orderly, disciplined,  saffron-clad pilgrims – do you know what is that about !


These photos which appeared in foreign magazine – Daily Mail made me curious to know and made me realize the greatness of our own Kanwarias, and their unbounded devotion to Lord Shiva..  Hinduism is a great religion, the belief, observance, rituals are all sacred and have great inner meaning. Sad, we tend not to follow them, do not understand how great our ancestors were and tend to attach importance only when Foreigners regard them.

Though distinctly different, have observed at the time Chithirai Thiruther at Srirangam when Lord Thiruvarangan is taken out on magnificent wooden chariot, around the Chithirai streets of famed Srirangam – thousands gather on the mada veethis, place the newly harvested grains as offerings – a particular group carries water from the sacred river Kaveri and sprays them along the path, making all such places sacred.  Rivers and waters have significance and are considered purificatory. 


Great to see thousands of orderly, disciplined,  saffron-clad pilgrims carrying water from the Ganges.  They are  Kanwarias who  carry metal canisters filled with holy water from the Ganges River and take a ritual journey of the roads of India  [the first photo is from www.firstpost.com; the other 3  appearing in thjis post are from www.dailymail.co.uk]

These are photos of the ‘Kanvar Yatra’ - annual pilgrimage of devotees of Shiva, known as Kānvarias, to Hindu pilgrimage places of Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand to fetch holy waters of Ganges River, Ganga Jal, which is later offered at their local Shiva temples. The Yatra takes place during the sacred month of Shravan (Saawan) (July -August), according to the Hindu calendar. The Yatra used to be undertaken by a few saints and older devotees – now lakhs join them,  from surrounding states of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab and some from as far as Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh reach these places to participate in Kanwar Mela.

Kanwar Yatra is named after the kānvar,  a single pole (usually made of bamboo) with two roughly equal loads fastened or dangling from opposite ends. The kānvar is carried by balancing the middle of the pole on one or both shoulders.  They carry water from the sacred Ganges return to their hometowns, where they later perform abhisheka (anointing) to the Shivalingas at the local Shiva temples, as a gesture of thanksgiving.

It is milling crowd of men, women, young and old, traversing on foot – some Hindu Organisations set up camps along the National Highways during the Yatra, where food, shelter, medical-aid and stand to hang the Kanvads, holding the Ganges water  are provided.


The Kanwarias dress in saffron colours on their pilgrimage and carry the ornately decorated canisters over their shoulders for hundreds of miles back to their home towns.  They fetch the water as a gesture of thanksgiving to Shiva and walk for days, some braving Indian roads and highways barefoot.

Most of the Hindu rituals are not supported in any form by the Government, be it Central or States and this one also does not find any  official place under the National Fair Authority -  the month-long Shrawani Mela  got underway on July 3, 2012, it draws lakhs of pilgrims, still Govt. would do nothing to provide any assistance to th devotees.  The same secular Govt. would provide subsidies to other religion for  undertaking religious trips – that is secularism in India.   

The devotees care none. "Facilities or no facilities, this is our annual fair and we visit each year to pay our obeisance to Lord Shiva,"  says those participating in this Yatra.   Some reports have it that the Shrawani Mela held in July and continues for a month attracts more than a crore pilgrims from across the country as well as neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bhutan reach Sultanganj in Bhagalpur district to pay obeisance to Lord Shiva. Devotees, on the first leg of journey, gather at Sultanganj to collect holy water from the river Ganga at Sultanganj ghat, where the Ganga becomes uttarvahini (river turns flowing towards north). Devotees trek nearly 90 km from Sultanganj via Belhar-Katoria-Chandan (Banka district) on foot carrying kanwars on their shoulder and holy water from Ganga. They chant the 'Bol Bam' mantra all through the trek route. Major part of the route (more than 55 km) falls under Bhagalpur and Banka districts in Bihar, while the temple is in Deoghar. On reaching Baidyanath Dham at Deoghar, the devotees pay obeisance to the God by pouring holy water on the Shivalinga.

Haridwar SSP is quoted as saying that  a total of 1.7 crore kanwarias have visited the holy city of Haridwar in a fortnight since the annual festival began on July 4. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

1 comment:

  1. Now, it doesn't look like whooty edubb a big movement, but it works so well.
    We'll come onto our knees in just a little space and a big round butt I
    wanna smack. You're going to stand all the way in to the knee.
    Alright, now I want you to pulse it out now.

    Look into my website ... pawg videos

    ReplyDelete