Kanwar Yatra is an auspicious pilgrimage observed by Lord Shiva’s devotees every year, in which they undertake yatra to Hindu pilgrimage centers to collect Ganga water, and then offer the ‘Gang Jal’ in the local Lord Shiva temples.
The holy water is stored in pitchers and carried by the devotees on their shoulders on a small pole made from bamboo, known as “Kanwar”. Hence, these Shiv devotees are popularly referred as “Kanwars” or “Kanwariyas” and the entire pilgrimage is referred as “Kanwar Yatra”.
Some of the religious places they visit are Sangam From Allahabad to Varanasi in UttarPradesh.
The Kanvar Yatra takes place during the Hindu month of ‘Shravan’ that is usually in the month of July to August. However the Kanwar Yatra Allahabad from Varanasi to Devghar in UttarPradesh, respectively, is undertaken all year round.
The devotees undertake this journey, almost 100 Km, with utmost devotion, that too, barefooted. This year, Kanwar Yatra begins on July 17, 2019 and ends on August 15, 2019.
History behind Kanwar Yatra
History of 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.
Another story tells that it was Ravana, who was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, brought Ganga water by using kanwar and poured it on Shiva’s temple in Puramahadev.
Since this happened in the month of Shravan, even today, Shiva’s devotees carry forward this tradition of pouring Holy Ganges water on the Shiv Linga every year in this month.