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.
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