Kanwar Yatra is mainly associated with deities Shiva and Parashuram. It is an annual pilgrimage of Shiva devotees, who are called as Kanvarias, to Hindu pilgrimage places such as Haridwar, Gangotri in Uttarakhand and Sultanganj in Bihar and many more. The pilgrims fetch holy waters of Ganga River and later offer it to Lord Shiva. Thousands of devotees from across places of the country reach these pilgrimage places for the annual Kawad Mela.
The Yatra takes place during the sacred month of Shravan (Saawan) (July -August) every year, according to the Hindu calendar.
During the Basant Panchmi, Maha Shivratri and other important Hindu festivals, the number of Kanwariyas increase many fold. Every year approximately 2 Crores Kanvarias attend this pilgrimage.
Alcohol and non-vegetarian food is not allowed during the Kanwar yatra. A Kanwar cannot touch another kanwar, without taking a bath.
Earlier Kanwar yatra was performed in the month of Bhado, from 1960 the mela started from the month of Shravan and extended up to Dashara. Now round the year Kanwariyas take Ganga Jal from Sultangaj and travel a distance of 100 km bare footed and reach Devghar in Jharkhand.
During the pilgrimage the devotees continuously chant ‘’Bol Bam’’and sing bhajans (hymns) in praise of Lord Shiva.
Saffron-clad pilgrims carrying holy water from the Ganges in Haridwar, Gangotri or Gaumukh perform abhisheka (anointing) on the Shivalingas at the local Shiva temples, as a gesture of offering prayer.
Kanwar yatra is associated with Lord Shiva and Lord parshuram.