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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