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Hindu Devotees perform Kavad Yatra in Northern India ~ Euphoria all Around. Article by Nandini Goel
Kavad Yatra in Northern India ~ Euphoria All Around
For the past seven days National Highway 58 (NH 58) of India is thronged with Millions of Lord Shiva’s Hindu devotees carrying pots filled with water from River Ganges in Haridwar (In the state of Uttrakhand). The Holy water which they carry to their city temple is offered to Shiva Linga with religious chanting and prayers , on the auspicious day of Mahashivratri(this year on 26th July), covering a distance of almost 200 Km while performing this ritual.
The pilgrims who are known as Kavarias carry the pots filled with water on a bamboo pole known as Kavad or Kanvar. The devotees carry these pots of water slung across their shoulders as they walk towards their city temples. Kavarias are seen wearing saffron kurta, Tshirts and pyajama with a saffron turban spreading saffron colour all over the highway.
The euphoria of the ritual is not only among the youth but could be clearly seen equally among the women, elderly and even physically disabled Hindu devotees.
People in individual capacity , in groups can be seen dancing and walking around the highway. Some group of devotees have designed beautiful Tabloids which depicts some part of mythological story from the life of Lord Shiva. Use of Modern technology to beautify the tabloids with LED lights and a Music system playing Bollywood songs , whose lyrics were altered for the occasion to encourage the fellow devotees could be heard at regular interval of the trip.
Most of the people walk bare foot or wear Flipflops , under the scrotchy heat of sun on Concrete roads besides the traffic chaos. It is needless to say that you get blisters and bruises when you walk bare foot for such a long distance. It is an amazing fact that the devotees shed more sweat than the water in the pot that they bring from River Ganges to their city temple. This surely depicts strong belief and devotion of the pilgrims and illustrates human endurance.
An Interesting story was told to me by an old lady sitting at the temple , which I reconfirmed through my research after going through the old literature. Well the story goes some thing like this : According to the Hindu mythology during the Churning of the Ocean, The Poison appeared on the surface of the ocean and started burning the whole world, The Sages, the gods and the demon prayed to the Lord Shiva and asked for his help. Lord Shiva answered their prayer and to save the life on earth, drank entire poison immediately, “Parvati.” The consort of Lord Shiva saw him sipping the poison and immediately rushed to his help. Fearing the consequences of the Poison, she immediately stopped the poison flowing down by putting her finger on Lord Shiva throat. So the entire poison got accumulated at the neck causing, the neck of Shiva, turn blue. I am sure Indian mythology had great understanding of Human physiology and affects of chemicals on the human body *smile*. Although, he drank the poison but he even had to suffer the heat that was created due to the poison in his body. To free him from this pain the sages pour water and milk on Shiva. Since then, this ritual is performed in Hindu temples and water is poured over Shiva Linga.
It is believed that somewhere in the “Treta Yuga”(many thousand years ago), “Ravana” the demon king of Lanka,(ardent devotee of Lord Shiva) who was killed by the King Ram of Ayodhya, which again forms an important mythological story of Hindu religion offered water from a Kanvara and released Lord Shiva from he negative energy of the poison. After that day this ritual of Kanvar or Kavad Yatra prevails in Northern India.
“Rudra Abhishek” is another such ritual. It is based on the same story as the Kavad Yatra. We offer milk mixed with honey, water and Tulsi (Basil leaf) besides the chanting of Holy Hymn on Shiva Linga. Although the water offered to the god statue during “Rudra Abhishek” is from the devotees city
Strict rules and penance are observed during this holy ritual by the devotee. It is said that devotees(Kavaria) cannot keep their pots of water on the ground on his way to his city temple. Usually a devotee does not eat food offered by someone on his way and he even abstains himself from worldly pleasures.
It is just blissful to see this Kavad Yatra taking place in North India. It has filled North India with Euphoria and Happiness!
Reporting direct from the ground : on National Highway 58 ,near Delhi India
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