In keeping with the yearly practice, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Saturday (July 8) showed his respect for Kanwar Yatris by washing their feet in Haridwar.
He further assured that all necessary arrangements have been made for this year's Kanwar Yatra, including health camps, toilets, parking, and tin sheds.
The Yatra, which started on July 5, will continue until July 15.
Even last year, the BJP government in Uttarakhand had witnessed similar scenes, with budgetary allocations being made for the Kanwar pilgrimage this year for the first time.
Chief Minister Dhami had previously washed the feet of Kanwariyas during that time as well.
The Kanwar Yatra is an annual event where hundreds of thousands of devotees undertake a pilgrimage to places like Haridwar, Gaumukh, Gangotri in Uttarakhand, Sultanganj in Bihar, and Prayagraj, Ayodhya, and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
These Yatris carry Ganga water in kanwars and return seeking the blessings of Mahadev. Governments in different states take various measures to facilitate the pilgrims during this Yatra.
On June 28, the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh led by Yogi Adityanath had announced a ban on the sale of meat along the Kanwar Yatra route in Uttar Pradesh. The decision was made to respect the beliefs of devotees and ensure cleanliness and sanitation along the route.
The government also assured the need provision for streetlights and arrangements for drinking water due to the hot weather.
Meat shop owners in Noida were instructed to close on July 7. The decision was made to maintain peace between communities, although meat sellers viewed it as a threat to their livelihood.
The deputy commissioner of police (DCP) in Noida, Harish Chander, explained that such orders are typically enforced during the Saawan month, coinciding with the Kanwar Yatra pilgrimage. The directive specifically applies to shops along the pilgrimage route.
In the previous year, the Gautam Budh Nagar administration had also mandated the closure of meat and liquor shops along all Kanwar Yatra routes in the district.
The Ghaziabad traffic police announced on July 4 that they had obtained 1,000 litres of Gangajal from Haridwar for the devotees participating in the pilgrimage.
During the month of Shravan, which began on July 4 this year, a significant number of Shiva devotees embark on a pilgrimage from Haridwar to Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi, and border districts through Ghaziabad. It is customary for these devotees to carry 'jal' (holy water) from Haridwar.
However, if the water falls and touches the ground, it is considered impure. To assist the devotees, the traffic police in Ghaziabad had sent a team to Haridwar's 'Har Ki Pauri' and obtained 1,000 litres of 'Gangajal' (water from the Ganges). This holy water has been distributed to all police stations in the area.
Notably, on the same day, Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi and leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), had announced that his government would be organizing camps across the city to provide facilities for the Kanwar pilgrims.
The Delhi Police announced on July 4 that they would deploy approximately 1,000 personnel and install over 300 CCTV cameras in temples and along the routes frequented by the Kanwar devotees. This measure aims to ensure the safety and security of the pilgrims during their journey.
On July 3, the newly-appointed excise minister of Jharkhand, Baby Devi, had also implemented a prohibition on the sale and consumption of alcohol along the route taken by the Kanwar Yatris to Deoghar in the state.
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