Culture of India

In news: Sabarmati Ashram

  • The Prime Minister’s recent actions honouring the 94th anniversary of the Dandi March at the Sabarmati Ashram are an important step towards the redevelopment and extension of this historic landmark.

About Sabarmati Ashram

  • The Sabarmati Ashram, founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1917, is historically significant in India’s war for independence as well as Gandhian philosophy.
  • The ashram, located on the western bank of the Sabarmati River north of the village of Juna Vadaj in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, became a focal point for many Gandhi-led initiatives and experiments.

Key Movements and Initiatives

  1. Champaran Satyagraha (1917): Gandhi used the ashram as a base for his participation in the Champaran Satyagraha, a protest against oppressive indigo planters in Bihar.
  2. Gandhi launched the Khadi Movement (1918) from Sabarmati Ashram, advocating for the use of hand-spun cloth as a means of boycotting foreign goods and encouraging self-reliance.
  3. Gandhi led the Ahmedabad Mill Strike (1918) and the Kheda Satyagraha, both of which were significant in India’s independence campaign.
  4. Non-Cooperation Movement (1920): The ashram was instrumental in Gandhi’s demand for non-cooperation with British authorities, encouraging Indians to boycott British goods and institutions.
  5. Dandi March (1930): One of the most memorable events in India’s freedom fight, the Dandi March began at Sabarmati Ashram. Gandhi and his followers marched to Dandi to protest the British-imposed salt tariff. 

Philosophy and Ideals

  • Gandhi envisioned Sabarmati Ashram as a society founded on the values of simplicity, self-reliance, and communal living.
  • He emphasised the value of truth, nonviolence (Ahimsa), and nonviolent resistance (Satyagraha) as means for social and political transformation. 

Activities and Structures

The ashram contained a variety of facilities and constructions, including:

  1. Hriday Kunj was Gandhi’s ashram apartment, where he stayed with his wife Kasturba.
  2. Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya is a museum dedicated to Gandhi’s life, featuring his personal items, letters, and photographs.
  3. Magan Niwas is a guesthouse for visitors and volunteers.
  4. Vinoba-Mira Kutir is the residence of Gandhian disciples Vinoba Bhave and Mira Behn. 
Culture of India

Thiruvalluvar Day

  • Thiruvalluvar, an important character in Tamil culture, has recently sparked outrage over how the TN Governor and Chief Minister have represented his image and clothing.

About Thiruvalluvar Day.

  • In Tamil Nadu, Thiruvalluvar Day is traditionally observed on the 15th or 16th of January.
  • The day is quite similar to Raksha Bandhan, when ladies pray for the well-being of their brothers.
  • The ladies carry out the rituals in the morning. As part of the tradition, rice is placed in the middle of a leaf, while the ladies pray for their brothers’ health.
  • This is followed by an Arati, after which turmeric water is sprinkled on the “kolam”.

Who was Thiruvalluvar?

  • Thiruvalluvar, also known as Valluvar, is a celebrated Tamil poet-saint whose popularity transcends caste and religious borders.
  • The exact time period in which he lived and his religious membership are still debated.
  • Some situate him in the third or fourth century, while others believe he lived in the eighth or ninth century.
  • His religious affiliation varies; some consider him a Hindu, others associate him with Jainism, while Dravidian parties revere him as a saint since he rejected the caste system.
  • Thirukkural, his primary work, is made up of 1330 couplets (kurals) divided into three sections that educate about dharma (virtue), artha (wealth), and kama (love).

Significance of Robes

  • Political influence has shaped depictions of Thiruvalluvar, particularly his dress, despite sparse historical material.
  • Scholar Insights: According to scholars, Thiruvalluvar’s religious allegiance was most likely Jain, rather than Hindu or Dravidian. His look, with white robes, is a more contemporary version.
  • Disputed Symbolism: The debate about the colour of Thiruvalluvar’s robes derives from competing political intentions and readings of his lyrics.

Thiruvalluvar’s Relevance Today 

  • Archaeological discoveries: Recent discoveries at Keeladi in Madurai have stretched the history of Tamilagam (Sangam Era) back at least 300 years, supporting Dravidian historians’ claims to ancient ancestry.
  • Keeladi Context: The Keeladi results have sparked dispute amongst Hindutva supporters and those who defend the Dravidian viewpoint. While no Hindu idols were discovered in Keeladi, opinions differ on the existence of ‘Hindu’ characteristics.
Culture of India

 Gandabherunda Art

  • Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has gained legal rights to the unique creative portrayal of Gandabherunda Art as a corporate identification sign.


Cultural OriginThe Hittites, Egyptians, Sumerians, and Indians all used this ancient theme.
Introduction to IndiaJohn Marshall proposed that it was brought by the Shakas (Scythians), although it was also found in ancient Indian scriptures.
Ancient Indian ReferencesIt appears in the Panchatantra, the Mahabharata, Panini’s grammar, and Jain works like as the Kalpa Stra.
Archaeological SitesSirkap, near Taxila and the Sanchi Stupa.
Literary AppearancesFeatured in Buddhist literature and the Panchatantra, it frequently represents togetherness and alertness.
Karnataka Temple SculpturesIn Karnataka, he is prominently featured in Hindu temples and is tied to Vishnu’s Narasimha avatar in the Narasimha Purana.
Contemporary SignificanceKarnataka’s state symbol; linked with the Mysuru royal dynasty and the Order of Gandabherunda.
Historical UsageThe first representation is from the Mathura art era (1st century CE). The Vijayanagara Empire (1336-1646 CE) made extensive use of it.
Karnataka EmblemKarnataka’s official state insignia, approved in 1956.
Architectural PresenceThis is common in South Indian temple architecture, particularly in Karnataka. The Chennakesava Temple in Belur is notable.
SymbolismRepresents physical and spiritual strength, as well as fearlessness.
Art & Culture Culture of India Trivia

Karnataka’s Hoysala Temples have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Hoysala temples of Belur, Halebid, and Somanathapur in Karnataka have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites, marking a watershed moment for these architectural masterpieces.

Nomination of Hoysala Temples

  • Previous Recognition: Since 2014, the Chennakeshava temple in Belur and the Hoysaleshwara temple in Halebidu, both in Hassan district, have been on UNESCO’s tentative list.
  • Nomination Expansion: The Keshava temple in Somanathapur, Mysuru district, was added to the tentative list alongside the other two temples. In February 2022, the Centre officially nominated all three as India’s entry for 2022-23.

Distinct Architectural Style:

  • The Hoysala temples are recognised for its distinctive architectural style, which is characterised by intricate ornamentation and a stellate layout built on raised platforms.
  • These temples are made of choloritic schist, often known as soapstone, which is malleable and lends itself well to elaborate carving.
  • Many sculptures within the temples bear the signatures of the creators, which is a unique trait in Indian art history.
  • Intricate Carvings: The intricate carvings on the doors of these temples showcase the outstanding artistry of Hoysala artisans.

Timeline of Events in History

  • Construction of the Chennakeshava Temple in Belur began in 1117 CE during the reign of King Vishnuvardhana and was finished in 1220 CE.
  • Hoysaleshwara Temple in Halebid: Built in 1121 CE.
  • Somanatha Dandanayaka commissioned the Keshava Temple in Somanathapur in 1268 CE under the reign of Narasimha III.

Tourism Impact and Future Focus

  • Global attention: The UNESCO World Heritage classification is expected to offer these temples global attention and encourage tourism in the region.
  • Increasing Amenities: Authorities intend to address any UNESCO issues and focus on boosting visitor facilities such as signs and connection.
  • Management Action Plan: To maintain and promote these heritage sites, a management action plan will be adopted.
Art & Culture Culture of India

Amazing Nataraja Statue: A Celebration of Chola Art

  • The tallest statue of Lord Shiva in his dancing form in the world, the 27-foot Nataraja statue, is waiting for the G20 leaders in New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan.
  • The sculptors can trace their ancestry 34 generations back to the Cholas.

The Nataraja Work of Art

  • Created by talented craftsmen from Swamimalai, Tamil Nadu, using an eight-metal alloy (ashtadhatu).
  • It was transported across the nation on a 36-wheel trailer and weighed about 18 tonnes.

The statue’s design draws inspiration from three revered Nataraja idols:

  1. Thillai Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram.
  2. Uma Maheswarar Temple in Konerirajapuram.
  3. Brihadeeswara (Big) Temple in Thanjavur (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Nataraja and the Cholas

  • The Cholas were the ones who first built all three of the temples that served as inspiration for the Bharat Mandapam Nataraja statue.
  • The Cholas, who governed most of peninsular India between the ninth and eleventh centuries AD, were renowned for their support of the arts and culture.
  • Throughout the Cholas’ geographical expansion, their art and architecture blossomed.

Shiva’s significance as the Lord of Dance

  • From the Vedic god Rudra, Lord Shiva transformed into Nataraja.
  • Shiva is a complicated god who embodies both nefarious and beneficent traits.
  • Shiva is represented as Nataraja, the Lord of Dance, as both the destroyer and the guardian.
  • He is credited with creating a wide variety of dances, from serene to ferocious and orgiastic.

Symbolism of Nataraja

  • Nataraja is frequently shown surrounded by a fiery aureole or halo, which stands for the circumference of the globe.
  • He has four arms and lengthy dreadlocks that symbolise the power of his dance.
  • He is holding an agni (fire) in his upper left hand and a damru (hand drum) in his upper right.
  • Under his foot, a dwarf-like figure stands for deception.
  • The ‘abhayamudra’ (gesture to assuage fear) is made by Nataraja with his front right hand, while he points with his front left hand to his raised feet.
  • Nataraja usually has a tranquil smile on his face, which symbolises the duality of life and death despite its complicated connotation.

Lost Wax Technique

  • The age-old “lost-wax” casting technique, which originated during the Chola era, was used to produce the 27-foot Bharat Mandapam Nataraja statue.
  • This technique has been used for at least 6,000 years.
  • A wax model must be made, covered with a particular soil paste, heated to dissolve the wax, and then the soil paste is removed, leaving a hollow mould that must then be filled with molten metal.
  • The Cholas perfected this method, which is regarded as the height of metallurgical craftsmanship.
Art & Culture Culture of India

Muharram and Ashura

  • On the 8th of Muharram, the Jammu and Kashmir administration approved a Muharram parade in Srinagar for the first time in over three decades, attracting thousands of Shia mourners.
  • The ruling has received widespread acclaim.

What exactly is Muharram?

  • Muharram is the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar and has religious and historical significance for Muslims all over the world.
  • The word “Muharram” means “forbidden” in Arabic, indicating the month’s hallowed aspect.
  • It is one of Islam’s four sacred months, during which combat and disputes are usually prohibited.
  • It is observed by both Sunni and Shia Muslims (as well as Hindus), albeit each group has a different historical and religious significance.

Celebration of Ashura

  • Ashura, the tenth day of Muharram, is the most important day of the month.
  • Shia Muslims observe the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson, Imam Hussain, in the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD. During this time, the prophet’s son-in-law, Ali, and Ali’s elder son, Hassan, are also recalled as having suffered and perished.  Shia Muslims perform distinctive mourning rites on Ashura, including as self-flagellation, chest-beating, and, in certain cases, forehead cutting with sharpened knives and chains with connected blades. The Shia Community also holds a ‘Taziya,’ a tableaux parade.
  • Sunni Muslims celebrate Ashura as the day when Prophet Moses and the Children of Israel were delivered from the oppression of Pharaoh by crossing the Red Sea.
  • Hindus observe Muharram by getting themselves painted in tiger stripes, visiting families, and performing “huli kunita” as part of their “harake” (promise).

Kashmir Celebrates Ashura

  • Dogra Rulers’ Prohibition: Muharram processions were either outlawed or permitted only at night under the reign of the Dogra rulers, citing tensions between the Shia and Sunni people.
  • Despite the Dogra mandate for early processions, mourners marched during the day in the 1920s, with both Shias and Sunnis joining the procession. This became connected with the Kashmiri Muslim liberation fight.
  • Selective Permits: Later, specific people and families were granted permits to participate in processions, but the major Muharram procession was banned when militancy broke out.

The Importance of Allowing Processions

  • After a long restriction, the approval for the Muharram parade in Srinagar is an important milestone, indicating progress towards religious freedom in the region.
  • It emphasises the importance of respecting people’s religious beliefs and upholding the values of inclusivity and unity among the valley’s various groups.
Culture of India

Women’s lives are undergoing demographic transformation and change

World Population Day (July 11) is an occasion to reflect on India’s demographic journey and its transforming impact on the lives of its residents, particularly women. This article discusses how population expansion, fertility decline, and social norms have changed many elements of women’s lives in India.

Central idea

  • India has grown from a population of 340 million at independence to a whopping 1.4 billion today, thanks to advances in public health, reduced famine, and medical achievements. This demographic shift has had far-reaching consequences for Indian women throughout their lifetimes, bringing both positive and negative effects.

Indian Women’s Obstacles Son Preference and Gender Bias

  • The sex ratio imbalance reflects Indian society’s desire for sons. Between 1950 and 2019, the number of females per 100 boys under the age of five fell from 96 to 91. This drop can be related to practises such sex-selective abortion and neglect of sick daughters, which result in reduced prospects and prejudice against girls.
  • Early Marriage and Childbearing: For Indian women, early marriage and childbearing remain significant obstacles. The average age at first birth has remained low, with women born in the 1980s still having their first child while they were under 22 years old. Women’s educational and employment opportunities are hampered by early childbirth, prolonging gender inequality.
  • Access to Quality Education: Despite recent gains, access to quality education remains limited for many girls and women in India. The article emphasises that, while more than 70% of females enrol in secondary school, early marriage and motherhood limit their educational options, limiting their skill development and access to better job opportunities.
  • Gender-based Violence and Harassment: Gender-based violence and harassment are prevalent, including domestic violence, dowry-related violence, and sexual harassment. Such instances have a severe influence on women’s physical and psychological well-being, limit their freedom, and make it difficult for them to fully engage in society.
  • Economic Opportunities are Limited: Gender wage disparities, occupational segregation, and hiring and promotion prejudices all contribute to women’s economic possibilities in India. Women bear a disproportionate share of the burden of unpaid domestic and caregiving duties, limiting their ability to engage in paid job and attain economic empowerment.
  • Inadequate Social and Financial Support: Widowed or elderly women frequently do not have enough social and financial support systems. Dependence on male family members for financial support, particularly sons, can perpetuate gender inequity and expose women to economic hardship, social isolation, and limited access to healthcare and pension benefits.

Women’s Ageing and Its Consequences

  • Proportional Increase: The proportion of women aged 65 and up has increased dramatically throughout the years. The proportion of women aged 65 and more climbed from 5% to 11% between 1950 and 2022, and is expected to reach 21% by 2050.
  • Financial challenges: Widowed women frequently encounter financial challenges because they may lack access to savings, real estate, and other financial resources. This reliance on their husbands, followed by reliance on their children, particularly sons, can continue the son preference cycle.
  • Restricted Decision-Making Power and Agency: Widowed women may have restricted decision-making power and agency in their later years. Their reliance on sons for financial assistance can limit their ability to make autonomous decisions, contributing to a sense of social and economic vulnerability.

Changing Circumstances for Indian Women

  • Difficulty in assuring a son’s birth: The risk of not having a son increased as families had fewer children. Sons were preferred because of social standards, patrilocal kinship structures, and financial uncertainty. This resulted in practises such sex-selective abortion and the abandonment of sick daughters.
  • Reduced active mothering years: As fertility rates fell, women had more time for school and jobs. According to the NFHS, the number of years women spend caring for children under the age of five has decreased from 14 in 1992-1993 to eight in 2018-20; the number of years spent caring for children from six to fifteen has decreased from 20 to 14.
  • Persistent early marriage and childbearing: While women’s educational attainment has grown, with more than 70% of girls participating in secondary school, early marriage and childbearing continue to be the major forces shaping women’s life. According to a recent article by Park, Hathi, Broussard, and Spears, the average age at first birth has remained around 20 for women born in the 1940s and is still considerably below 22 for those born in the 1980s.

What exactly is a Gender Dividend?

  • The concept of Gender Dividend refers to the idea that countries may increase productivity and equity by investing in women and girls and narrowing gender gaps, notably in the labour market.
  • It emphasises that countries may become more productive and egalitarian by realising the economic potential of women and girls through increased investments and opportunities.

Education and Skill Development

  • Strategies for Harnessing the Gender Dividend Ensure equitable access to quality education for girls and women to promote gender equality in education. Encourage girls’ school enrolment and retention, eliminate educational hurdles, and provide skill development programmes that equip women with job-relevant abilities.
  • Economic Empowerment: Create an enabling environment for women’s economic engagement by resolving labor-market gender gaps, encouraging entrepreneurship, and assuring equal pay for equal effort. Implement policies and programmes that promote women’s access to financial resources, credit, and entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • Women’s Leadership and Decision-Making: Increase women’s representation and participation in positions of leadership in all areas, including politics, business, and government. Encourage women’s participation in decision-making at all levels to guarantee that their opinions and voices are heard.
  • Gender Equality and Legal Reform: Adopt and enforce legislation to defend women’s rights and promote gender equality. Discriminatory practises such as early marriage, dowry, and violence against women must be addressed. Improve the enforcement of existing laws to secure women’s justice and protection.
  • Health and Happiness: Increase women’s access to healthcare services such as reproductive health, maternity health, and preventive care. Address specific women’s health challenges, such as gender-based violence, reproductive health issues, and mental health.
  • Establish social support structures that provide safety nets for women, particularly vulnerable populations such as widows, elderly women, and single mothers. Develop public awareness efforts to address social conventions and attitudes that contribute to gender inequity and violence against women.
  • Engaging Men and Boys: Include men and boys as allies in the promotion of gender equality and the challenge of harmful gender norms. Encourage males to take on caring and domestic chores, as well as to advocate for women’s rights.
  • Data Gathering and Monitoring: Collect and analyse gender-disaggregated data to identify gaps, track progress, and support evidence-based policymaking. Evaluate and measure the effects of gender equality programmes on a regular basis to ensure accountability and to guide future interventions.

Strategies for Expanding Access to Childcare

  • Take advantage of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS): Consider making staffing crèches a permissible form of employment under NREGS. This would entail utilising NREGS personnel to assist in the staffing of childcare centres, hence increasing access to cheap childcare services.
  • Make Use of the Self-Help Group Movement: Use the self-help movement to build neighbourhood childcare centres in both urban and rural regions. Using the network and resources of self-help groups to set up and administer childcare facilities is one example.
  • Increase the number of Anganwadis: Expand the reach and scope of Anganwadis, which are government-funded centres that provide integrated childcare and early education. Increase their capacity and incorporate crèche services to accommodate working parents.
  • National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM): Integrate childcare services into the NRLM framework, which strives to improve rural households’ lives. This can include incorporating daycare within the NRLM-supported skill development and income-generation activities.
  • Childcare Financial Support: Consider implementing subsidy programmes or financial support schemes to make childcare more affordable for low-income families. Income-based subsidies, vouchers, or tax credits could be used to reduce the financial burden of childcare fees.
  • Neighbourhood Childcare Centres: Encourage the creation of neighborhood-based childcare centres, particularly in urban areas, to meet the childcare needs of the local community. This method maintains parents’ proximity and accessibility, making it easier for them to manage work and childcare commitments.
  • Recognise Childcare as Work: Recognise the important work of childcare providers and advocate for the professionalisation of the childcare industry. This can involve providing training programmes, certification, and support systems to help childcare professionals enhance the quality of care they give.
Culture of India

Preventive and Corrective Action Directive

  • Designation of Nodal Officers: State governments must appoint senior police officers as Nodal Officers in each district to prevent incidents of mob violence and lynching.
  • State governments should identify high-incidence locations where mob violence and lynching have been documented.
  • Police Actions and FIR Registration: Under Section 129 of the CrPC, police personnel must use their authority to disperse mobs, and FIRs must be registered as soon as possible under Section 153A of the IPC.
  • Monitoring of Investigations: It is the obligation of Nodal Officers to personally oversee the investigation of such offences and guarantee efficient execution.
  • Compensation plan: In accordance with Section 357A of the CrPC, state governments should establish a victim compensation plan for lynching and mob violence victims.
  • Designated Courts: In each district, special designated courts or fast-track courts should handle lynching and mob violence cases.

Directive to State Governments

  • Gathering Information: A Bench comprised of Justices Sanjeev Khanna and Bela M. Trivedi has directed state governments to compile detailed data on mob violence and lynchings.
  • Year-wise Data: The data should include information on complaints filed, FIRs registered, and challans presented to courts, as well as an annual progress report.
  • Coordination with State Departments: The court recommended that the Ministry of Home Affairs meet with appropriate department heads from state governments to get an update on the actions taken in response to the court’s 2018 decision in the Tehseen Poonawala case.
  • Compliance with Court Orders: The court had earlier ordered that the states organise Special Task Forces to gather intelligence on hate speeches, mob violence, and lynchings.


  • The Supreme Court’s oversight of preventive and corrective procedures for mob lynching reflects its commitment to addressing the problem.
  • The court intends to hold the Union and State governments accountable for their acts by directing data consolidation and pressing compliance with the 2018 judgement.
  • These policies are intended to reduce vigilantism, safeguard the rule of law, and provide justice to victims of mob violence and lynchings.


Culture of India Governance

Nari Adalat: Courts for Women Only

  • The government is beginning the ‘Nari Adalat’ plan, which would establish women-only tribunals at the local level.
  • Nari Adalat’s mission is to give an alternative conflict resolution forum for topics including domestic violence, property rights, and opposing patriarchal norms.
  • The pilot programme will begin in 50 villages in Assam and Jammu and Kashmir, with intentions to expand nationwide over the next six months.

Structure and operation 

  • Each Nari Adalat will have 7-9 members, half of whom will be elected gram panchayat members and the other half would be women of social standing such as teachers, doctors, and social workers.
  • Objectives: It will handle individual issues, increase awareness about social programmes, collect feedback, educate people about their legal rights, and resolve cases that fall under its jurisdiction.
  • Services Offered: For accessible and cheap justice, the platform will provide alternative conflict resolution, grievance redressal, counselling, evidence-based decision making, pressure group tactics, negotiation, mediation, and reconciliation.

Ministry-in-Charge of execution and Collaboration

  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development will oversee the scheme’s execution under the Sambal sub-scheme of Mission Shakti, which is committed to women’s safety, security, and empowerment.
  • Collaboration Efforts: The Common Service Centres of the Ministries of Panchayati Raj, Rural Development, and Electronics and Information Technology will work together to implement the scheme.
  • SOPs stand for Standard Operating Procedures. To ensure the uniformity and effective operation of Nari Adalats, detailed protocols for all states have been drafted and will be issued.

The concept’s inception

  • Previous Initiatives: The scheme is modelled after the National Commission for Women’s (NCW) Parivarik Mahila Lok Adalats (People’s Courts of Women).
  • Focus Areas: These courts dealt with family cases, marriage disputes, bigamy, succession, and labor-related motor vehicle accidents.
  • Scheme that has been discontinued: Before the scheme was stopped in 2014-15, the NCW-assisted Parivarik Mahila Lok Adalats had a total of 298 sessions.

The need for such a strategy

  • Gender Bias in Traditional Court Systems: Women’s only courts combat gender bias in traditional court systems by providing a fair and non-discriminatory atmosphere for women’s claims.
  • Cultural and Social hurdles: These courts remove cultural and social hurdles that restrict women from seeking justice by providing a culturally sensitive environment in which they can freely participate.
  • Women’s only courts encourage women to exercise their rights, challenge patriarchal norms, and seek justice on their own terms.
  • Addressing Specific concerns: These courts concentrate on concerns specific to women, such as domestic violence, property rights, and gender-based discrimination.
  • Women’s only courts facilitate access to justice for women who suffer geographical and logistical problems in reaching mainstream courts because they are based at the village level.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution: These courts provide mediation and negotiation options for settling disputes, which are more effective and less adversarial, particularly in family and community problems.
  • Women’s only courts establish legal precedents and promote awareness about women’s rights, affecting societal norms and fostering good change.
Art & Culture Culture of India

Kanwar Yatra

  • The Kanwar Yatra, a major annual pilgrimage, began on July 4 and will go until July 15.
  • Millions of devotees, known as Kanwariyas or Kriyas, embark on this trip to collect water from the Ganga River and dedicate it to Lord Shiva.
  • The Kanwar Yatra is an act of trust and devotion that symbolises the unbreakable tie between followers and Lord Shiva.

Kanwar Yatra’s legendary Origins Samudra Manthan:

  • Kanwar Yatra is thought to have started from the legendary account of Samudra Manthan, in which Lord Shiva ingested poison to rescue the world. To relieve the symptoms of the poison, all the gods poured Ganga River water on Lord Shiva.
  • Another account claims that the Kanwar Yatra ritual began when King Ram brought water from the Ganga to a statue of Lord Shiva (shivalinga) in an earthen pot.

Rituals and customs Ganga Water Collection:

  • Devotees clothed in saffron apparel set out on foot to collect water from the Ganga River at Haridwar, Gomukh, and Gangotri. They balance two earthen pots filled with water on their shoulders, which are suspended on a decorated bamboo stick.
  • Purity is important to devotees because it prevents the pots from contacting the ground or becoming polluted by dust, which could dirty the sacred water.
  • The Kanwariyas walk the yatra barefoot, travelling great miles in difficult terrain and terrible weather conditions.
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