• Tue. Jun 11th, 2024

    Kawad Yatra 2023: Everything You Need to Know About the Epic Two-Month Pilgrimage

    Kawadiyas on there way
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    If you are a devotee of Lord Shiva, you must have heard of the Kawad Yatra. It is a pilgrimage that millions of Shiva bhakts (devotees) undertake every year during the holy month of Sawan. The Kawad Yatra is a way of expressing love and gratitude to Lord Shiva, the destroyer of evil and the giver of life.

    But what exactly is the Kawad Yatra and why is it so special? Let’s find out.

    What is the Kawad Yatra?

    The word Kawad means a wooden pole with two pots hanging on either side. The pots are filled with holy water from the Ganges River, which is considered sacred by Hindus. The Yatra means a journey or a procession.

    So, the Kawad Yatra is a journey where devotees carry pots of Ganges water on their shoulders and walk for hundreds of kilometers to offer it to Lord Shiva at various temples. The devotees are called Kawariyas, and they wear saffron clothes and chant “Bol Bam” or “Har Har Mahadev” (both are praises of Lord Shiva) along the way.

    The Kawad Yatra is a symbol of devotion, sacrifice, and faith. The devotees believe that by offering Ganges water to Lord Shiva, they will receive his blessings and fulfill their wishes. They also seek forgiveness for their sins and protection from evil.

    The Kawad Yatra is not an easy task. It requires physical stamina, mental strength, and spiritual dedication. The devotees have to face many challenges such as heat, rain, traffic, fatigue, and injuries. But they overcome all these obstacles with the help of Lord Shiva’s grace and the support of fellow Kawariyas.

    Kawad yatra

    What are the myths and rituals of the Kawad Yatra?

    The Kawad Yatra is not just a physical journey, but also a mythological and ritualistic one. It is based on the legends and stories of Lord Shiva and his devotees. The Kawad Yatra is also a way of observing the holy month of Sawan, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

    According to mythology, the Kawad Yatra originated when Lord Vishnu and other gods carried pots of Ganges water to Lord Shiva to cool him down after he drank the poison that emerged from the churning of the ocean (Samudra Manthan). The poison turned his throat blue, hence he is also called Neelkanth. The gods offered Ganges water to Lord Shiva as a gesture of gratitude and reverence.

    Another legend says that the Kawad Yatra was started by Ravana, the king of Lanka and a great devotee of Lord Shiva. He brought Ganges water from Haridwar to Kailash in a golden pot and offered it to Lord Shiva. He also sang praises of Lord Shiva and pleased him with his devotion. Lord Shiva granted him many boons and also gave him his powerful weapon, the Chandrahas.

    The Kawad Yatra is also a way of celebrating the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, which took place in the month of Sawan. The devotees carry Ganges water as a symbol of love and joy and offer it to Lord Shiva as a wedding gift. They also sing and dance along the way to express their happiness and devotion.

    The Kawad Yatra is also a way of observing fasts and rituals in the month of Sawan, which are considered very auspicious for worshipping Lord Shiva. The devotees offer bel-patra, bhang, dhatura, durvakur etc to Lord Shiva. They also offer panchamrut, which is made from milk, ghee, honey, curd and sugar. These offerings are believed to please Lord Shiva and bring his blessings.

    The Kawad Yatra also coincides with the Shravan Shivratri, which is a special night dedicated to Lord Shiva. The devotees stay awake all night and perform puja and abhishek (ritual bath) to Lord Shiva. They also chant mantras and meditate on Lord Shiva’s name. They believe that by doing so, they will attain salvation and liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

    The Kawad Yatra is a way of connecting with Lord Shiva and experiencing his grace and power. It is a way of showing gratitude, devotion, and faith to Lord Shiva, who is the supreme lord of the universe.

    Why is the Kawad Yatra special in 2023?

    The Kawad Yatra is special every year, but in 2023, it will be even more special. Why? Because in 2023, the month of Sawan will be of two months instead of one due to the occurrence of Adhikamas, which is an extra month added to the Hindu calendar once in three years to align it with the solar cycle.

    This means that the Kawad Yatra will start on July 4th and continue until August 31st. That’s a whopping 59 days of devotion and celebration! This also means that there will be more Mondays in Sawan, which are considered very auspicious for worshipping Lord Shiva.

    In fact, there will be eight Mondays in Sawan in 2023, compared to four or five in other years. Each Monday has its own significance and rituals, and devotees observe fasts and offer prayers to Lord Shiva on these days.

    Here are the dates and timings of the Mondays in Sawan in 2023:

    DateDayEvent
    July 04TuesdayFirst Shravan Monday Fast
    July 10MondayFirst Shravan Monday Fast
    July 17MondaySecond Shravan Monday Fast
    Shravan Adhik Maas Begins
    July 24MondayShravan More First Monday Fast
    July 31MondayShravan More Second Monday Fast
    August 07MondayShravan More Third Monday Fast
    August 14MondayShravan More Fourth Monday Fast
    Shravan More Month Ends
    August 21MondayThird Shravan Monday Fast
    August 28MondayFourth Shravan Monday Fast
    August 31ThursdayShravan Ends
    Government guidelines here

    As you can see, there are two sets of four Mondays in Sawan in 2023, one in the regular month and one in the extra month. This gives devotees more opportunities to participate in the Kawad Yatra and offer Ganges water to Lord Shiva at different temples.

    Some of the famous temples where Kawariyas visit during the Kawad Yatra are:

    • Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi
    • Neelkanth Mahadev Temple in Rishikesh
    • Baidyanath Temple in Deoghar
    • Somnath Temple in Gujarat
    • Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain
    • Omkareshwar Temple in Madhya Pradesh
    • Kedarnath Temple in Uttarakhand

    How to join the Kawad Yatra?

    If you are interested in joining the Kawad Yatra in 2023, you need to prepare yourself well in advance. You need to follow some rules and guidelines to ensure a safe and smooth journey.

    Here are some tips to help you join the Kawad Yatra:

    • Register yourself with a Kawad Yatra group or organization that can provide you with guidance, support, and facilities during the journey.
    • Plan your route and itinerary carefully and choose a temple that is suitable for your distance and time.
    • Arrange for a Kawad or a pot that can hold Ganges water securely and comfortably. You can also decorate your Kawad with flowers, flags, and stickers.
    • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes that can withstand the weather and the terrain. Avoid wearing leather or synthetic materials that can cause irritation or infection.
    • Carry essential items such as water, food, medicines, sunscreen, umbrella, torch, etc. in a backpack or a waist pouch. Do not carry any valuables or unnecessary items that can weigh you down or attract thieves.
    • Follow the traffic rules and regulations and respect the local authorities and residents. Do not cause any inconvenience or disturbance to others on the road or at the temples.
    • Maintain hygiene and cleanliness and dispose of your waste properly. Do not litter or pollute the environment or the Ganges water.
    • Be respectful and courteous to other Kawariyas and help them if they need any assistance. Do not get into any arguments or fights with anyone.
    • Be humble and sincere in your devotion and prayers. Do not boast or show off your Kawad or your achievements. Remember that you are doing this for Lord Shiva’s pleasure, not yours.

    What are the benefits of the Kawad Yatra?

    The Kawad Yatra is not just a physical journey, but also a spiritual one. It has many benefits for the devotees who undertake it with faith and devotion.

    Some of the benefits of the Kawad Yatra are:

    • It strengthens your bond with Lord Shiva and increases your love and devotion for him.
    • It purifies your mind, body, and soul from all sins and negative influences.
    • It grants you peace, happiness, and prosperity in your life.
    • It fulfills your wishes and desires that are in accordance with Lord Shiva’s will.
    • It protects you from all dangers and difficulties in your life.
    • It enhances your physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being.
    • It boosts your confidence, courage, and resilience.
    • It enriches your cultural and religious knowledge and awareness.

    Conclusion

    The Kawad Yatra is a unique and amazing experience that every devotee of Lord Shiva should try at least once in their lifetime. It is a way of expressing your gratitude, devotion, and faith to Lord Shiva, who is the supreme lord of the universe.

    The Kawad Yatra in 2023 will be even more special as it will be of two months instead of one due to the occurrence of Adhikamas. This will give devotees more time and opportunities to participate in the Kawad Yatra and receive Lord Shiva’s blessings.

    So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your Kawad Yatra today and get ready for a two-month long spiritual journey that will transform your life forever.

    Har Har Mahadev! 🙏

    Liked it? We recently had a similar detailed article about Jagannath Yatra (here).

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