16th July, 2021 Culture
- Uttarakhand is urging devotees to comply with the ban on this year’s Kanwar Yatra amid Covid-19.
- The Kanwar Yatra is a pilgrimage organised in the Hindu calendar month of Shravana.
- Saffron-clad Shiva devotees generally walk barefoot with pitchers of holy water from the Ganga or other holy rivers.
- Devotees carry the pitchers of holy water on their shoulders, balanced on decorated slings known as Kanwars.
- The water is used by the pilgrims to worship Shiva lingas at shrines of importance, include the 12 Jyotirlingas, or temples such as the Pura Mahadeva and Augharnath Temple in Meerut, Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, Baidyanath Dham in Deoghar, Jharkhand etc.
- An important festival with similarities to the Kanwar yatra in North India, called the Kavadi festival, is celebrated in Tamil Nadu, in which Lord Muruga is worshipped.
- The legend of the ritual goes back to the ‘samudra manthan’, narrated in the Bhagavata Purana.
- A Jyotirlinga is a devotional representation of Shiva.
- There are twelve traditional Jyotirlinga shrines in India.