Sawan month begins, but no Kanwariyas in sight due to COVID-19

On the occasion of the first Monday of Sawan month, several devotees on Sunday took a holy dip in river Ganga here. However, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were no Kanwariyas this year around, who are known to visit in great number to celebrate the festival and worship Lord Shiva.

“People are coming to visit the places of worship in the month of Sawan. However, a ban has been placed on the Kanwar yatris travelling from outside. A rapid action force has been deployed to oversee the security arrangements. Also, other measures have also been taken in view of COVID-19 lockdown,” Superintendent of Police Vikash Chandra Tripathi told ANI.

This time every year, thousands of devotees from across India, undertake the pilgrimage called ‘Kanwar Yatra’. However, the turnout of devotees was less due to COVID-19 pandemic this year.

“After several rounds of meeting with the committee members of several religious bodies, announcements were made in regard to Kanwar Yatra. Therefore, there very few devotees this time around,” Tripathi added.

The absence of Kanwariyas comes in the backdrop of the decision made by the Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Uttarakhand last month to postpone the annual pilgrimage in the view of the pandemic.

The decision was taken in a virtual meeting held between Yogi Adityanath, Manohar Lal Khattar and Trivendra Singh Rawat on Saturday. The CMs decided to postpone the ‘Kanwar Yatra’ as suggested by religious leaders and ‘Kanwar’ organisations as a precautionary measure for coronavirus.

These pilgrims are known to visit Haridwar, Gaumukh, and Gangotri in Uttarakhand followed by Sultanganj in Bihar to fetch waters of river Ganga.

Later, the holy water is dispensed as offerings to Lord Shiva in temples.

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