In his previous post, Vivek Banerjee wrote about shooting a Royal Bengal Tiger. Here he takes us to Kanwar Yatra.
The month of July witnesses Kanwar Yatra – a unique socio-religious phenomenon where people travel long distances, mostly on foot, to fetch Ganga jal from Haridwar/ Rishikesh, and carry it home in containers kept in specially designed ‘Kanwars’ for Jalabhishek of Lord Shiva on Maha Shivaratri.
Normal life comes to a halt as national and state highways close down, heavy traffic is banned and buses are diverted to make way for the deluge of pilgrims, affectionately called Bholas. Everything turns saffron for a few days, and the only sight as far as the eye can see is saffron-clad pilgrims and the amenities stalls set up to provide for them.
While most pilgrims prefer to walk the entire distance, some use modern modes of transport like bicycles, motor-bikes, jeeps and trucks.
Saharanpur, being the gateway to Uttaranchal, plays host to many of these pilgrims. Here are a few images from this year’s Kanwar Yatra.
Vivek Banerjee is a pediatrician by choice and a writer by chance. He tries to escape from the pressures of his profession by seeking refuge in the world of writing. His debut novel The Long Road, which was well received by readers, was published by Cedar- an imprint of Pustak Mahal in December 2010. He counts photography as a recent obsession.