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Kanwar Yatra 2017: Here’s Why it is so Popular with Devotees of Lord Shiva!

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Kanwar Yatra 2017. Wikimedia

New Delhi, July 10, 2017: 

Kānvar Yātrā is an annual pilgrimage of devotees of Lord Siva, also called by the name of Kānvarias, who travel to different Hindu pilgrimage places in Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand and Sultanganj in Bihar with the aim of fetching holy waters of Ganges River.

Why is it Celebrated?

This year it falls on July 10 and millions of devotees participate to collect the sacred water from the Ganga and carry it miles across to distribute it as offerings in their local shrines, or any specific temple such as Kashi Vishwanath, Baidyanath, and Deoghar in Jharkhand or Augharnath temple in Meerut.

Kanwar refers to a type of religious performances where devotees who participate in the yatra ritually carry water from a holy source in containers suspended on either side of a pole.

Where is it Celebrated?

The word ‘Kanwar’ has been mentioned as an organized festival in canonical texts with nothing much written about it. But the phenomenon for sure existed in the early nineteenth century when English travelers report seeing these pilgrims at many points during their journeys in the plains of north India. Back then the pilgrimage used to be a small affair managed by a few devotees until the late 1980s when it started gaining popularity.

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Today, the Kanwar Yatra to Haridwar, in particular, is said to be India’s largest annual religious gathering, with an estimated 12 million participants in the 2010 and 2011 events.

The Kanwars come from the surrounding states of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, Rajasthan, Punjab, and some from Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. The government undertakes heavy security measures and the traffic on Delhi-Haridwar national highway (National Highway 58) is diverted for the time being.

Effective Measures by UP Government-

As the Kanwar Yatra begins from today, the Uttar Pradesh and the Delhi police officials have set up a plan to avoid traffic congestion which generally passes through the Western up. According to official sources, raids will be carried out on drug mafias that are operating in Ghaziabad and Trans-Yamuna areas.

The UP government, in order to prevent any terror threats, has asked the  ‘kanwariyas’ to carry valid ID cards – aadhar card,  voter cards or driving license to ascertain their identity during the routine checking.

A traffic plan has been prepared by both the state police with route diversions for the annual month-long Kanwar Yatra 2017. According to traffic department, in the case of heavy vehicles routes will stay diverted from 8 pm from every Friday till Monday 9pm. While on the auspicious occasion of Shivaratri i.e. on July 21 the heavy vehicles will be diverted on July 19 from 8 pm till 9 pm of July 21.

Heavy vehicles coming from Lucknow will move via Kanth, Jalalabad, Kolaghat, Mirzapur, Kalan, Usawa, Miao, Badaun, Sahaswan and Gunnaur-Naraua-Bulandshahar to reach Delhi and vehicles coming from Shahjahanpur will be diverted towards Jalalabad.

Vehicles coming from Bareilly will pass via Bara-Bypass if they are moving towards Rampur and Moradabad. Also, heavy vehicles from Nainital and Pilibhit that are going towards Shahjahanpur/Lucknow will move via Bara-Bypass, Invertis-trisection and Faridpur Bypass.
During the Yatra, only kanwars will be permitted access to NH-58 while the commuters and residents of Ghaziabad will have to use a different route.

Furthermore, the Delhi Government said that it has decided to hold 129 Kanwar Camps from July 13 to July 25 for the upcoming Kanwar Yatra. Principal Secretary (Revenue), Mr. Dharam Pal who is responsible for directing all agencies to ensure proper arrangements said to The Hindu, “The Delhi Police have been asked to deploy adequate police personnel around the camps for securing law and order as well as managing the traffic.”

The Health Department and the municipal corporations will be dealing with health and first-aid related issues.

– by Shabnam Mangla of NewsGram

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Do You Know there are only two Leaning Temples in The World? Visit the Leaning Temple of Huma in Sambalpur

Huma is about 23 kms towards the southern direction of Sambalpur, Odisha. and is connected with Sambalpur and other cities of Orissa by road. The temple is situated inside the village of Huma.

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Leaning Temple
The Leaning Temple of Huma. Wikimedia.

The famous Leaning Temple of Huma built in 1670 AD is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is one of the only two leaning temples in the world. It was constructed by the ruler, Baliar Singh, the 5th ruler of the kingdom of Chauhan of Sambalpur, Odisha, India. The speciality of this temple is it’s structure skewed to one direction.

Reason Behind its Tilted Structure:

It is regarded that the reason for its tilted structure could be some interior dismounting of rocky bed at which this temple is positioned, either because of flood current inside the Mahanadi River or earthquake, thereby affecting the position of this original temple.  An interesting fact to be noted is that the other little temples inside the Hamlet are also tilted to various other directions.

The finest time to visit this leaning temple is October to March. Enshrine your spirituality during these months and celebrate the festive season in the town of Sambalpur, Odisha. Shivratri is believed to be the chief festival of this temple. Hence, it advances a huge gathering specially during Shivratri festival during March. You may also find ‘Kudo’ fishes on the bank of river Mahanadi near the temple who are given food by devotees as a part of the worship.

Leaning Temple
The Leaning Temple of Huma. Wikimedia.

How to Reach the Leaning Temple of Huma:

By Road – Huma is about 23 kms towards the southern direction of Sambalpur, Odisha. and is connected with Sambalpur and other cities of Orissa by road. The temple is situated inside the village of Huma.

By Rail – Sambalpur railway station is the closest station from Huma. You may find taxis and cabs to drop you 23 kms towards the temple of Huma.

By Air – Bhubaneshwar is the closest airport to Huma which is approximately 290 ms away from Huma. Catch a taxi or cab to drop you at the exact destination.

Leaning Temple
Huma Leaning Temple is one of the two leaning temples of the world. Wikimedia.

Where to stay:

There are various hotels nearby the temple at affordable prices presenting the pleasant view of the outside village.

-Prepared by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram. Twitter @tweet_bhavana 

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Karwa Chauth 2017: Know the Customs, Age Old Tale, Meals and Muhurat

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Karwa chauth 2017
Karwa Chauth 2017. Wikimedia

Chandigarh,Punjab [Published on 5th Oct’2017]

About Karwa Chauth:

Karwa Chauth is an important festival for married Hindu women all over the world. This year Karwa Chauth will be celebrated on 8 October 2017.

The festival of Karwa Chauth falls on the Krishna Paksha Chaturthi of the Kartik month (October). On the eve of Karwa Chauth, married women keep an uninterrupted fast for their husband’s long life. The ritual of fast keeping for husbands is prevalent in north India like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana.

On this day married women neither consume water and nor food, to pray for their husband’s long life.

There is a story related to Karwa Chauth that a married woman had brought the life of her dead husband back.

There is another story with this, in the past, when the girls got married in a village or place away, they had to leave their families and friends behind and build new relations.

These little girls did not have any information about their husbands, they needed some time to get involved in new family and customs. In order to make this link easier for girls, people of the village started a practice in which the newlyweds used to be friends with their age girls.

During this time, all the girls could express their minds in front of each other. Between the celebrations of this friendship, they got an opportunity to make Dharam sisters. It is believed that the beginning of this festival of Karwa Chauth took place as a celebration of friendship.

The women used to come and carry them and decorate them to their sisters. But, over time, the traditions changed and women started fasting for husbands on this day.

Karwa Chauth 2017: The story of Rani Veeravati

Veeravati was the only sister of seven brothers, who loved all the family very much. With full devotion, Veeravati awaited for the moon with anxiety, keeping the fast throughout the day. Veerawati’s brothers deceived her and showed moon using glass and peepal tree. She broke her fast by looking at the fake moon, and as soon as she started pouring the mouth of the food into her mouth, the servants came and told her that her husband has died.

After receiving this news, Veeravati cried all night, suddenly a goddess appeared in front of her and she told her that if she wanted to see her husband alive again, then she will have to follow the fasting rituals with complete dedication and devotion. Veeravati again fasted Karwa Chauth and after seeing her devotion, the god Yama had to return the life of her husband.

“How to celebrate Karwa Chauth”

Karwa Chauth 2017
Shiv and Parvati. Wikimedia

Married women eat sargi before sunrise – which is prepared by their mother-in-law. After eating sargi, women sustain without water and food till the time they see the moon at night. On this day women worship Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and Kartik. In the evening, women worship God and wish for their husband’s long life. On the first glimpse of the moon, women offer water to the moon. After this, the husbands feed water to their wives and complete their fast.

Karwa Chauth 2017: Customs associated with Karwa Chauth

Before watching the moon, a festival is organized by married women in which women participate in wearing red colored sarees. In the meantime, they all rotate their thalis seven times and narrate the story of Karwa Chauth and sing songs. After this, women worship goddess Parvati and pray for their husband’s long life.

Karwa Chauth 2017: Sargi meal eaten
Karwa Chauth 2017: Sargi meal during fast. Wikimedia

Karwa Chauth 2017: “Sargi” Meals during fasting

On the day of Karwa Chauth, the sargi which is eaten before sunrise, contains mathri, sweet, cashew curry, dry fruits, and other foods. At the same time after completion of fasting, women enjoy delicious recipes like kheer, chhole puri, chaat, dahi bhalle with their families.

Karwa Chauth 2017: Muhurat and Timing

The muhurat to worship Chauth Mata is between 17:55 to 19: 09 according to drikpanchang. You can worship the goddess within 1 hour and 14 mins. Moonrise on Karwa Chauth will be at 20:14. However, do check the timing in your city. Chaturthi tithi will begin from 16: 58 on October 8 and will end at 14:16 on October 9.

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Strange Rituals: Demon King Ravana is Worshipped on Dussehra

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Effigy of Ravana burns. Dussehra. Wikimedia

Sep 30, 2017: Vijayadashami or Dussehra is celebrated with fervor at the end of Navratri every year. The festival is observed by burning the puppet of King Ravana. While at some places, the celebration of good over evil is celebrated by burning effigy of the demon king, there are some places where Ravana is worshipped on this occasion. It is predisposed amongst the followers that all their wishes come true on this day.

Also Read: Ram and Ravana Have More In Common Than You Think: 5 Traits of the Anti-Hero Ravana That You Must Learn | Dussehra Special

Every year on Dussehra, the 125-year-old Dashanan temple in Shivala area of Kanpur is opened for its devotees. An idol of King Ravana is ornamented, and aarti is performed. Devotees perform religious rituals and light lamps to celebrate the festival. The temple remains closed following the burning of Ravana’s statue.

Dashanan Temple was constructed in 1890 by king Guru Prasad Shukl. The rationale behind the construction of Dashanan temple was Ravana’s adherence towards Lord Shiva.

King Ravana is worshipped at many places in India, for example: In Andhra Pradesh’s Kakinada, a huge shivalinga established by Ravana is revered along with the demon-king. Vidisha, a village in Madhya Pradesh is dedicated to King Ravana. In this village, the first wedding card invitation is sent to Ravana before the commencement of any celebration. Neither the devotees burn dummies of King Ravana, nor do they celebrate Dussehra.