Kanwar Yatra

The Kanwar Yatra is the annual pilgrimage of the devotees of Shiva known as Kanvaria; to Hindu pilgrimage places like Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand and Sultanganj in Bihar to fetch the holy waters of the Ganges River to pour it on various Shiva temples in India. The Kanwar Yatra (Kawad Yatra) takes places in the holy Hindu month of ‘Shravan’ also known as ‘Saavan’.

The Saavan Yatra of Kanwar is usually held in the month of July to August in the Gregorian calendar. However the Kanvar Yatra from Sultanganj to Devghar in the state of Bihar is undertaken by the Kanvarias all year round. The 100 km Kanwar Yatra in Saavan is done barefooted by the devotees with utmost devotion and thrill. During the Kanwar Yatra the devotees store the holy water of Ganga River in pitchers and carry it on their shoulders on a small pole made from bamboo known as “Kanwar” from which the Kanvarias derive their name.

Kanwar Yatra 2019

The Kanwar Yatra for this year will begin on 17 July 2019 with the beginning of "Saavan". Thousands of devotees are expected to visit the holy city of Haridwar and Rishikesh.

About Kanwar Yatra

The Kanwar Yatra in Monsoon is the time when the journey to various Shiva temples like Neelkanth Mahadev Temple in Rishikesh, Pura Mahadeva and Augharnath temple in Meerut and Kashi Vishwanath, Baidyanath and Deoghar. The devotees in Kanwar Yatra head to Haridwar, Gangotri and Gaumukh. Kanwar yatra in haridwar is a massive event; there are large camps and gatherings that are seen of the Ghats of the Ganges during The Haridwar Kanwar Yatra. The devotees take a bath in the Holy water of river Ganga at Kanwar Yatra in Haridwar. The Yatra further moves to Rishikesh where the Kanwariyas pour water in the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple.

History of Kanwar Yatra/ Kawad Yatra

The Kanwar Mela was first observed in the month of ‘Bhado’ as per the Hindu calendar, However the Kanwad Yatra is been held in the Shravan month since 1960 till the month of Dusshera. This Yatra goes to various destinations in Uttarakhand. After the 1990’s the Kanwad Yatra to Neelkanth became really famous and a large number of devotees started participating in it. The Kanwar Mela is also known as The Shravan Mela and is one amongst the biggest religious congregations of North India. Not only men, but women also participate in the Kanwar Yatra.

Mythology behind Kanwar Yatra

The Kanwar Yatra of Saavan has a high holy significance in India. There are two Mythologies of Kanwar Yatra which makes it of a very high importance in the Hindu Mythology.

First one says that during the time of churning of the ocean of milk, known as Samudra Manthan in the month of Shravan according to the Hindu Puranas. The ocean spilled out poison before it gave out the elixir of life (Amrit.The world started burning from its heat and then Lord Shiva gulped it in and settled it in his throat which turned blue because of the poison, giving Lord Shiva the title of ‘Neelkanth’. The poison left a burning sensation in Lord Shiva’s throat and so the Gods poured the holy water of The Ganges on Lord Shiva to minimize its effects.

The second Mythology of Kanwad Yatra says that Ravana, an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva brought the holy water of Ganga by using a Kanwar and poured on Shiva’s Temple in Puramahadev during the month Aof Saavan, thus releasing Shiva from the negative energy of the poison. Since then Shiva’s devotees carry forward this ritual of pouring Ganga water on the Shiv Lingas around the world during Saavan.

Kanwar Yatra Route

The Kanwar Yatra to Neelkanth begins from the ancient Badrinath-Kedarnath route but now 'Kanwariyas' follow the national highways. Most of the Kanwarias from Delhi-NCR region, follow the NH-58 route from Ghaziabad to Rishikesh. The Kanwarias walk hundreds of kilometers to reach till the Neelkanth Temple. The Kanwariyas fill up the Kanwars at Ramkund or from the holy Ganga river, and then they move forward to the Neelkanth temple, for the Kanwar Yatra in Rishikesh to pour the holy water on the Shiv Linga.

The Route to Neelkanth Kanwar Yatra from Delhi is easy as there are a number of transport facilities available. You can board a bus, book a taxi or travel by train till Rishikesh as there are a number of bus cab and train facilities available till Rishikesh from New Delhi. The Neelkanth Temple is located at a distance of 32km from Rishikesh.

Traffic Situation During Kanwar Yatra

The Kanwar walk in groups during this holy yatra, while most of the Kanwariyas cover the distance on foot, others also use bikes, auto, bicycle, scooters, jeep or mini trucks to cover this journey. The Kanwar Yatra invites crores of pilgrims from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and other parts of India. Last year there were many policies that were made to control the traffic in Kanwar Yatra. There may be diversions for bus routes plying to/from Haridwar, Rishikesh & Dehradun during Kanwad Yatra. 

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