The Auspicious month of Saavan is marked by one of the greatest pilgrimages of Hindu beliefs, the Kanwar Yatra. “The Kanwar Yatra is the pilgrimage that the devotees of Shiva take every year during the month of Saavan or Shravan according to the Hindu calendar”. Kanwar refers to a single pole (usually made of bamboo), and Kanwariyas are the Kanwar-carrying pilgrimage.
- One of The Greatest Pilgrimage: In the holy month of Shravan, better known as Saavan, one can see the roads and highways flooded with millions of Shiva Devotees, the Kanwariyas dressed in saffron, walking zealously towards their destination, singing bhajans of Lord Shiva. The Baidyanath Dham is one of the famous Jyotirlinga Temples in the world. Shravani Mela is a major festival at Deoghar in Jharkhand, where thousands of saffron-clad pilgrims bringing holy water from the Ganges of Sultanganj, barefoot covering 105 kilometers.
- Om Namah Shivaya: The great pilgrimage of Kanwar Yatra takes place in Saavan primarily because it is deemed as being auspicious for Lord Shiva, as the legend says is was during this month that Lord Shiva drank the poison in order to save the universe. Nobody in the three Lokas has the ability to do so. The Halahal (toxin) made Shiva’s throat turn blue, ever since the name Neelkantha is ascribed to Shiva. All the demi-gods started offering the Ganges water to Lord Shiva to reduce the impact of the Halahal, this happened in the month of Shravan and from that point it became a custom in Hindu beliefs.
- Difficult Journey: Pilgrims have to travel the entire distance of about 105 kilometers from Ganges of Sultanganj to the Baidyanath Dham in Deoghar and most of them do this by foot, that too barefoot. Railway stations and trains are crowded with Kanwariyas and organizations like Kawad Sangh set up camps along the national highway to provide food, shelter and medical-aid to help the traveling Kanwariyas. Even after all these difficulties Kanwariyas inevitably chant the name of Shiva singing Bam Bam Bhole or Om Namah Shivay, and dancing in great zeal. A padayatra holds a special significance in spirituality; it brings one closer to nature and gives time to bond with fellow humans regardless of color, class, caste and creed.
- Why Gangajal: Ganga Jal or the water of the holy Ganges river holds a very special place inHindu belief. Ganga Maiyya is believed to have descended from the heavens into Shiva’s lock and even a drop of the Ganga Jal is said to purify one.
One of the most important pilgrimages is a way to purify your mind and leave all your weaknesses behind.