Hardwar (Uttarakhand), July 20 : Soaring prices of essential commodities have taken their toll on Kanwarias or, the Lord Shiva devotees this year, as they are disappointed to find the pilgrimage turning quite an expensive affair.
Millions of Kanwarias arrive in Hardwar every year for the "Kanwar Mela". Most of them take up the about 250-kilometres journey on foot or bicycle from their native places during the auspicious Shravan month(July-August) as per Hindu calendar.
Many of the Kanwarias are presently either on their way to Hardwar or have arrived here to collect water from the River Ganga. They opine that goods and services needed by them during the pilgrimage have turned quite expensive.
"It's been eight years since we have been coming here. Everything is expensive this time. Prices have doubled up. Prices of everything have soared up right from food to clothes," said Ashok Kumar, one Kanwaria.
These Kanwarias are disappointed to find there are no more inexpensive accommodations or food available in the market.ky rocketing prices of things like toothpaste to lodging have irritated these pilgrims this time.
Meanwhile, local shopkeepers approve of Kanwarias's obvious grudges since market prices of various goods of Kanwarias' usage have risen by four times this time.
"The inflation has affected Kanwarias a lot. If this continues, the Kanwarias would get limited to very few people and places," said Kamal Chaudhary, a shopkeeper in Hardwar catering to the needs of the Kanwarias.
On this occasion, devotees take up a walking journey, carrying ornamented Kawads, small vessels balancing on two sides of the bamboo stick. oreover, people associated with making Kawads are also complaining of their sales being affected by inflation.
"Inflation has hit upon Kawadias very badly. A piece of fabric, which earlier cost us Rs.5 per metre today costs 7 per metre. Earlier, what used to cost rupees 300 today costs Rs. 1,000. Earlier, we could manage good profits but this time sale and profits have been badly affected," said Sadiq Hussain, one Kawad maker.
These saffron-clad pilgrims carrying water collected from the Ganga in Haridwar, Gangotri or Gaumukh (the glacier from where the Ganga originates) in Uttaranchal, return to their hometowns to consecrate the lingams as a gesture of thanksgiving By Ashish Goel