Haridwar, July 27 : As the huge convergence of Kanwarias turn Haridwar in Uttarakhand into a saffron ocean during Shravan month of Hindu almanac each year, a lot of Kanwarias make merry dancing and singing in groups to rid themselves of their exhaustion caused while undertaking the 250 km to-and-fro on foot journey.
Millions of Lord Shiva devotees arrive in Haridwar to worship and take away some holy water of River Ganga during Shravan, the Hindu month as per Vikrami calendar. They use this water to perform Lord Shiva's Jalabhishek (pouring of holy water on Shivalinga) back at their native place. Chanting "Bol Bum" and other praises of Lord Shiva on their way to Haridwar, these Kanwarias dance on religious tunes at various venues while walking with the decorated Kanwars on their shoulders. "I'm from Delhi and have come here for my parents' welfare. I've carrying the Kanwad and enjoying as well. We visited the Nealkanth shrine, Mansa Devi shrine, Laxman Jhoola and many more places. We moved around the places and now we've come to take the Kanwad. We've been up right from 5 o'clock. The DJ is playing the music and we are dancing and enjoying ourselves," said Sonu, a Kanwaria. The trek is undertaken for or on fulfilment of a wish. These Kanwarias arrive from all over Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Haryana. "These Kanwarias are given free food and places to take rest at various places. Of course, they take leave from their busy schedules and take this difficult pilgrimage. But a few Kanwarias get too much in revelries, which is not good," said Raj Rajeshwar Nand of Jagat Guru Ashram, Kankhal. There are a lot of people who undertake this Kanwad ritual sans any fancy. Kanwar is prepared with a bamboo stick on which two small pots to carry holy water hang. "I've come here to Haridwar with Kanwad and fulfill my vows for the welfare of my family. I was blessed with many good things. For the pass 11 years, I've been observing the fast and the rituals. People should not revel in non-devotional issues. The almighty is aware of all as to who does what," said Susheeladevi, a woman Kanwaria. he Kanwar Yatra or pilgrimage involves donning yellow or saffron coloured clothes, remaining on a strict vegetarian and non-alcoholic died during the pilgrimage period, bathing in River Ganga and carrying the river water in a pot back to their home towns where it is offered at the local Shiva temple. The return journey is undertaken on foot and enroute the Kanwarias avail free assistance at numerous camps to bathe and rest, have food and even medical treatment. Kanwadia Mela in Haridwar is described as the biggest congregation of pilgrims after the Kumbh Mela. By Ashish Goel