Shravana is considered a month dedicated to Lord Shiva. His devotees, especially the men, go to Haridwar to fetch the water of river Ganga and offer it to the Shivalinga. This offering of holy water is made on a Savan Shivratri day. And the pilgrimage to Haridwar is known as Kanwar Yatra. Kanwar refers to the arrangement made using a stick, both the ends of which, water-filled containers are hung. The water is that of river Ganga. This stick is carried by the pilgrims on their shoulders. Today, through this post we discuss why the pilgrims go to Haridwar and not anywhere else.
Shiva Goes To His In-Laws' House
It is said that throughout the month, Lord Shiva stays in the Kankhal Nagri, his father-in-law's city. King Daksh was the father of Goddess Parvati. Also, when Lord Vishnu goes to sleep for the next four months, Lord Shiva takes up the responsibility of looking after all the three lokas (prithvi loka, akash loka and patal loka). Thus, staying in the hometown of Goddess Parvati, he looks after the world.
Lord Parshuram Performed Kanwar Yatra First
According to a story, Lord Parshuram had offered water on Pura Mahadeva Shivalinga. He had brought this water from Ganga in Gadh Mukteshwar, near Haridwar, and thus began the tradition of Kanwar Yatra. Therefore, the water of the river Ganga is fetched from Haridwar.
Yet another story says that when Samudra Manthan took place, a pot of poison had emerged from the waters of the ocean. This poison was strong enough to kill the entire universe. Lord Shiva, in order to save the universe, drank the poison. At that time all the gods had brought the water of river Ganga to soothe his body that was burning due to the effect of the poison. Hence the devotees go to Haridwar to fetch the water of Ganga. This water is considered very pure and is used in all the auspicious pujas.
Another story around the same incident says that on the same day when Shiva drank the Halahal poison, the demonic king Ravana went to fetch the water of river Ganga and offered it to the Shivalinga. This soothed his body and the effect of the poison was nullified. Ravana is considered one of the most famous devotees of Shiva. He had offered hard penances to please him. Probably this was one reason, that his offering worked directly on Shiva's body. And until today, people go to Haridwar for fetching the water of the river and please the deity in a similar way.
Carrying the kanwars on their shoulders, the pilgrims, known as Kanwariyas, travel to Haridwar. These Kanwariyas, wearing saffron coloured clothes, travel all the way on foot, most of the times. It is said that Shiva accepts their prayers very soon. These people are blessed with success and a good life.
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