Kanwar Yatra : Origin and Significance

Kanwar Yatra

India, also known as the land of festivals, is given such a title because it has so many festivals and each festival has a different meaning and culture related to it. However, there is something similar in all the festivals and that is they all bring happiness in one’s life. In this article you will learn about one of the biggest festivals for a Shiva Bhakt (devotee) – The Kanwar Yatra. If you are a Shiva you gotta know about this festival. Read the full article because we are sure that it contains some information which will blow your mind. 

What is Kanwar Yatra ?

Kanwar Yatra is one of the biggest festivals for Shiva bhakts. This holy festival is celebrated in the hindu month of Shravan (July-August). During the Kanwar Yatra, Shiva Bhakts known as “Kanwariyas” travel long distances on foot, often in large groups, to collect the holy water from the River Ganga . They carry the holy water in containers, known as “kanwars,” which are slung across their shoulders using a pole. 

The Kanwar Yatra is considered a sacred journey undertaken to seek blessings and fulfill vows made to Lord Shiva. 

Kanwariyas often travel in large processions, singing devotional songs, and participating in religious rituals along the way. They observe various acts of penance and self-discipline during the pilgrimage, such as fasting, walking barefoot, and refrain from certain worldly comforts.

The Kanwar Yatra is a significant event in the Hindu religious calendar and attracts a large number of devotees from different parts of India, particularly from the northern states. It is a time when many towns and cities along the pilgrimage route witness increased religious fervor and bustling activities related to the pilgrimage.

Who Started Kanwar Yatra ?

Many people don’t know the story behind the Kanwar Yatra. This holy shiva festival was started by the Biggest Shiva Bhakt (devotee) Ravana. 

The Story begins when the Samudra Manthan was taking place and the Halahal poison came out. The world started burning from its heat, and entered into chaos. At that time lord Shiva, drank that deadly poison and stored it in his neck and his neck turned blue. Due to the blue neck, Gods called him Neelkanth. But, after drinking the poison, Lord Shiva started suffering from the negative energy of poison. 

In Treta Yuga, Ravana after completing his meditation, brought holy water of Ganga by using kanwar and poured it on Shiva’s temple in Pura Mahadev. Thus releasing Shiva from the negative energy of the poison. After that this became a festival for Shiva bhakts.


Kanwar yatra holds great Significance for the Shiva Bhakts. The Kanwar Yatra is primarily undertaken by devotees who have deep reverence for Lord Shiva. By carrying the holy water from the Ganges and offering it to Lord Shiva at temples, they express their devotion, seek blessings, and show their commitment to the deity.

The Kanwar Yatra is considered a sacred pilgrimage, where devotees embark on a physically demanding journey. They often walk long distances, sometimes barefoot, enduring hardships and practicing self-discipline along the way. It is seen as a form of penance and a way to purify the body and mind.

Many devotees undertake the Kanwar Yatra to fulfill vows or seek specific blessings from Lord Shiva. They believe that by carrying the holy water and offering it with devotion, their prayers will be answered, and they will receive divine protection. 

It represents the rich religious heritage of India and showcases the devotion and customs associated with Lord Shiva. The pilgrimage has been practiced for centuries, passing down from one generation to another, preserving the cultural significance of the event.

Water holds immense symbolism in Hinduism, representing purity, cleansing, and spiritual rejuvenation. By carrying the holy water from the Ganges, devotees seek purification of their sins and impurities. It is believed that the water holds the divine energy and blessings of Lord Shiva.

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