Kanwar Yatra

Kanwar or Kanvar or Kavad Yatra is a pilgrimage to fetch Holy Ganga water from places like Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand and Sultanganj in Bihar where River Ganga flows. This is an annual pilgrimage where Shiva devotees gather in huge numbers and carry water from the Holy river using a Kanwar to be offered to their local shrines for Lord Shiva. Until late 1980s, this was a small event involving saints and spiritual seekers, in the recent times this Kanwar pilgrimage has gained massive popularity especially The Ganges at Haridwar has attracted about 12 million devotees in the year 2011.

Kanwar Yatra 2023

Tue , 4th Jul 2023


Kanwar means a single pole or a stick with two equal loads fastened at the ends of the pole, like a weighing balance; the pole is balanced on a person's shoulder while carrying loads. Kanwar Yatra relates to the churning of the Ksheera sagara for Amrita- the nectar of immortality. Lord Shiva who consumed the Halala, the venom spewed by the serpent used for churning, was said to suffer from mild traces of its toxicity. Lord Ravana, an ardent Shiva devotee when learnt about this, he gathered holy water of Ganga using kanwar and poured it on the Shivaling of Puramahadev temple to remove the traces of the negative energy from the venom.

The Yatra

Most of the devotees who go on this pilgrimage are men since this involves travelling long distances by foot, very less women participate. A few also travel by jeeps and motorcycles. The devotees travel in groups, sing bhajans, chant and celebrate their travel all the way to the Ganges. All the Shiva devotees chant ‘Bol Bam’ all through this yatra in the praise of Lord Shiva. Many organisations have now volunteered towards this Yatra by setting up medical camps and stalls for food and temporary shelter. This pilgrimage takes paramount devotion and deep faith towards the Lord. After collecting water from Ganges, devotees walk back to their villages and offer this Holy water to the Shivaling on Triyodashi tithi.

Some Shiva devotees, travel to Kashi Vishwanath, Baidyanath or Meerut Pura Mahadeva temples to offer the holy water. Serving the Kanwarias i.e the devotees who go on Kanwar Yatra is considered to be an auspicious act and said to grant good karma. Several NGOs from various states of India offer extend their service like offering food, water, and medical help during different segments of the journey. One such popular NGO is Bol Bum Sewa Samiti who works all year round for serving devotees who go on yatra by foot.


  • Kanwar Yatra as a holy pilgrimage enables positive frame of mind, gives the ability of discernment and deep spiritual seeking. 
  • Some devotees observe a strict fast during the pilgrimage and facilitates an opportunity to connect with the Shiva Consciousness. 
  • This pilgrimage process removes the fear of death and bestows longevity.

Kanwar Yatra festival dates between 2019 & 2029




Wednesday, 17th of July


Monday, 6th of July


Saturday, 24th of July


Thursday, 14th of July


Tuesday, 4th of July


Monday, 22nd of July


Friday, 11th of July


Thursday, 30th of July


Monday, 19th of July


Friday, 7th of July


Thursday, 26th of July