100s of Thousand Dalits & OBCs proudly participate in kanwar yatra !!
Kanwar Yatra is associated with the churning of ocean of Amrit or Samudra Manthan in the month of Shravan as per the Hindu Puranas. Religious scriptures say that the churning of the ocean led to the emergence of poison or vish before the Amrit came out. This poison was consumed by Lord Shiva and the Amrit or Nectar of Immortality was distributed to the Gods. It was because of consuming the poison, Lord Shiva’s throat turned blue for which he was given the name “Neelkanth” and He felt a burning sensation in his throat. To reduce the impact of the poison, Gods and Devas poured Ganga Water to Lord Shiva.
The Kānwar Yatra or Jal Yatra is an annual pilgrimage of devotees of Shiva, known as Kānvarias or “Bhole”, to Hindu pilgrimage places of Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand and Sultanganj in Bihar to fetch holy waters of Ganges River. Millions of participants gather sacred water from the Ganga and carry it across hundreds of miles to dispense as offerings in their local Śiva shrines, or specific temples such as Pura Mahadeva and Augharnath temple in Meerut, and Kashi Vishwanath, Baidyanath, and Deoghar in Jharkhand.
At its base, Kanwar refers to a genre of religious performances where participants ritually carry water from a holy source in containers suspended on either side of a pole. The pilgrimage derives its name from the contraption, called kanwar, and while the source of the water is often the Ganga, it can also be its local equivalents. The offering is dedicated to Shiva, often addressed as Bhola or Bhole Baba.
Kanvar Yatra takes place during the Shravan month that corresponds (July to August). It starts on Pradipada tithi (the first day) of Shravan month. However the Kanwar Yatra from Sultanganj to Devghar in the state of Bihar and Jharkhand respectively, is undertaken by the kanwariyas all year round. During this time, devotees undertake this 100Km Journey barefooted with utmost devotion and enthusiasm.
The Kanwar Yatra is a month long ritual in which the Kanvarias wear saffron colored clothes and walk barefooted to collect the holy water from the chosen pilgrimage destinations. The devotees then return to their hometown and perform the ‘abhishekam’ of the Shivling at the local temple.
It is considered to be an act of thanksgiving for all the fortunate things in their life. The only thing to take care is that the earthen pots should not touch the ground at any point of the journey. There are numerous makeshift stands constructed across the journey, using which the Kanvarias can take some rest for a while.
The Kanvarias walk in groups during this holy yatra. Most of them travel the distance on foot. All through the journey these Lord Shiva devotees chant ‘Bol Bam’ and religious bhajans in the praise of Lord Shiva.
Serving the Kanvarias is also considered to be an auspicious act. Several NGOs and people from various villages and towns in different segments of the journey offer free service like offering food, water, tea or medical help. While most of these organizations are functional during the month of Shravan, there are few NGOs like Bol Bum Sewa Samiti that work all year round.
Jai Bole Nath !!