Allahabad-Varanasi route diverted for 'kanwariyas'

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Varanasi, Jul 17 (UNI) The district administration has made tight security arrangements and diverted the Allahabad-Varanasi National Highway route as a security measure for 'kanwariyas', who will start their annual journey to the world famous Kashi Vishwanath temple here from Allahabad on July 19.

The decision would be effective from July 19 to August 18, where all big and heavy vehicles would be diverted to Phaphamau from Allahabad giving them an extra 35 km ride, official sources said.

However, half of the road -- right side -- would be opened for small vehicles. At least 40 pickets would be made for the police on the route.

Security has also been scaled up following the recent terrorist attacks in the country. A posse police has been garrisoned in the temple arena and the nearby areas.

Meanwhile, pilgrims have already started thronging the holy city Varanasi, where the journey of the 'kanwayias' (Shiv devotees) would culminate. The entire city is echoing with the holy chants of ''Bam Bam Bhole'' and ''Har Har Bam Bam''.

Every year around the holy month of 'Shrawan' (July-August), 'kanwariyas' travel on foot for hundreds of kilometers to and from their villages to fetch sacred water from the river Ganga and take it back to their home place after paying obeisance at Kashi Vishwanath temple.

Their name comes from the pole each carries known as a 'kanwar'.

It has a pot on either end to hold the Ganga water. Clad in saffron 'lungi' (a wraparound) and vests, they trek along for days ranting 'Bam Bam Bholey' and 'Har Har Mahadev'.

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