The Kanvar Yatra or Kavad Yatra is annual pilgrimage of devotees of Shiva, known as Kānvarias, to Hindu pilgrimage places of Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand to fetch holy waters of Ganges River, Ganga Jal, which is later offered at their local Shiva temples. The Yatra takes place during the sacred month of Shravan (Saawan) (July -August), according to the Hindu calendar.
The Yatra used to be a small affair undertaken by a few saints and older devotees until the 1990s, when it started gaining popularity. Today, hundreds of thousands of devotees from surrounding states of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab and some from as far as Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh reach these places to participate in Kanwar Mela. In 2003, 5.5 million pilgrims reached Haridwar, with traffic growing each year. Heavy security measures are undertaken by the government and the traffic on Delhi-Haridwar national highway (National Highway 58) is diverted for the period.
Kanwar yatra is related to churning of ocean of the milk in Hindu Puranas. When poison came out before Amrita and world started burning from its heat then lord Shiva accepted to inhale poison. But, after inhaling it he started suffering from negative energy of poison. In Treta Yuga Lord Shiva's devout follower Ravana did meditation. He brought holy water of Ganga by using kanwar and pour it on lord Shiva temple in Puramahadev. It released Lord Shiva from the negative energy of poison.
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