|Written by Administrator|
|Saturday, 07 July 2012 15:15|
The Kanwar or Kanvad Mela is one of North India’s biggest religious festivals, next only to the Kumbh Mela. Every year during the rainy month of Saavan, Kaanwarias or devotees of Lord Shiva converge to the holy towns of Hardwar, Rishikesh and even Gaumukh to fetch holy water from River Ganga. They flock from Delhi and the neighbouring states of Punjab. Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and even Madhya Pradesh to fetch Ganga Jal. This water is then respectfully carried back in kanwars (vessels filled with Ganga Jal) and offered at Shiva temples in their respective home towns.
Last year according to official figures, more than 1.15 crore devotees entered Uttarakhand to participate in the Kanwar Mela. This year around 1.20 crore are expected. The Mela began on Wednesday 4th July when according to the Hindu calendar, the month of Shravan started.
Naturally this inflow of more than a crore people over a period of one month leads to a huge administrative challenge every year for the entire state of Uttarakhand. To ensure that the Mela goes off smoothly, as many as 3000 police officials have been deployed for Kaanwar duty. Traditionally Kanwars used to travel by foot, often bare feet but now they use all modes of transport. A special term, Dak Kanwars, is used for those who travel by vehicles. This year, for the convenience of Kanwarias coming in trains, four new special trains from Delhi and Bareilly have been started by Indian Railways The traffic on the Delhi Dehradun highway will be diverted during this period. From 12th July onwards, to accommodate the Kanwarias, routes of buses going to Haldwani and Delhi will be changed. This will unfortunately lead to an increase in the fare because the buses will have to travel an extra distance of 77 kms to reach Delhi and 24 kms to reach Haldwani from Dehradun. (See chart below)
Also, this year, in consideration for people of nearby towns like Dehradun and Mussorie, the police has implemented a special security measure wherein the Kanwarias will not be allowed to enter Dehradun City or Mussorie Market. They will also not be allowed to carry hockey sticks, bats, trishuls and other sticks and rods during the yatra. Also, strict measures will be taken against Kanwarias who are caught driving rashly and playing loud music. With the number of devotees swelling by the year for this annual event, let’s hope that the administration has learnt from the past and is fully geared this year to ensure a smooth, swift and hassle free yatra for kanwarias and least disruptance in lives of the residents of Haridwar and neighbouring towns.