Kawariyas , Devoties of Lord Shiva

Every year in the Shrawan month of the Hindu calender ( July, August ) more then 10 lakh ( one million ) number increasing every year, devotees from various part of North and Central India gathers at Haridwar and Gangotri to to take holy water of river Ganges, carry  it on their shoulders walk to their respective Lord Shiva temple in their city or village and pour it on Shiva Lingam.

The prepration is done much before the Kawariayas leave from their home by observing strict disipline of simple vegetarian food , sleeping on floor and away from induldging sex ,tabaco and alcohol, wearing saffron colour cloths,  they leave from home at least 7 -10 days before Shivaratri after performing the pooja for Haridwar or Gangotri by any means of transport , again after performing the pooja they fill their small copper or brass urns , hang it on a decorated  bamboo stick , wearaing saffron cloths bare foot or non leather sandals or shoes start their return journey back home trekking up to 600 – 700 kms to reach their respective destinations before the Shravan Shiva Ratri . these devotees of Lord Shiva are as young as toddlers with mothers and as old as one can walk long distance I have seen 80 years old covering distance of more than 300 kms with young devotees even crippled , lame and blinds undertaking this journey chanting BOL BUM. One wonders is it just faith that makes them complete such a long journey on foot or there is some divine power which makes them perform to do.

There are kawariyas who carry the Ganga water themself upto their destination , there are another set of Kawariyas who carry it as a relay race a team of devoties accompany in a truck and turn by turn each one carries, walk or run with the Ganga water while others rest and wait for their turn in the vehicle these are called the Dakiyas or the Postmen.

Legend is when the churning of Sea took place ( Samundra Manthan) ambrosia (amrit ) and poison (vish) surfaced. No one wanted to have poison. Yet consuming poison was crucial as it would have caused  destruction had it touched the earth. Lord Shiva drank the poison but kept it holding in his throat which caused tremendous heat in his body. To pacify that heat Gangajal was poured over Lord Shiva.

It is not only a yearly ritual for the Kawariyas to carry  the holy water of Ganges but villagers and people on the way take it as their religious duty to feed ,  medical help , offering foot massage, arranging for night stay and rest to Lord Shiva devotees, large number of camps are erected on highways  from Haridwar to Delhi , Jaipur , Alwar, Agra, and Haridwar to Sahranpur, Ambala , Panipat, Rohtak , the main highway Haridwar to Delhi NH8 is closed for traffic for 4-7 days due to heavy rush of walking Kawariyas back home .

There are similar rituals at Deoghar in Jharkhand state , the devotees over 7-8 million in number bringing holy river Ganga  water from various places and pour it over the Shiva lingam at Baidyanath Dham Deoghar

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Harmandir Sahib, Golden Temple, Amritsar

Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib and as western’s call it the Golden Temple the supreme religious seat of Sikhs  is in the holy city of Amritsar , Punjab state  in North India .

Amritsar is also mentioned  as Ramdas Pur in earlier historical records , it is also pronounced as Ambarsar ( Pool of Ambrosia ) . City was established by the fourth Sikh Guru Ram Dass Ji by purchasing the land from the residents of the village Tung in 1574 AD The area around Amritsar has the legend of Ramayana associated with it ,  Rishi Balmiki’s ashram was here , the Devi Sita the Lord Rams wife  lived in exile and gave  birth twin sons  Lavh and Kush. It is said when the twin brothers  killed the entire  army of Lord Ram , at that time a jug of Ambrosia descended from heaven to restore the soldiers to life.

First view of Darbar Sahib from Eastern Gate, Amritsar

It was in 1574 A.D. Guru Ram Das Ji made his home by the side of the pool, finding the air and water of his abode health-giving  which was regarded as blessed with miraculous powers of healing and in 1577 AD.holy tank was excavated and named it Amritsar and the present city grew around it . The Fifth Guru Arjan Dev Ji conceived the idea of construction of the Gurudwara in the center of the pool, he himself designed and laid the foundation stone in late 1588  , it has four entrances symbolizing it open for all , it was completed in 1604 AD and Guru Granth Sahib was installed in it . After this event it attained the status of ‘Ath Sath Tirath’ and  the Sikh community had their own Tirath, a pilgrimage center .

Darshani Deori , main entrance to the Harmandir Sahib

The present  Harmandir Sahib was rebuilt in 1764 by the Jassa Singh Ahluwalia later  the founder of Kapurthala State in Punjab , it is said he in a battle with Afghans in 1762  (Wadha Gulughara) who had destroyed Harmandir Sahib,  received Sixty Four wounds .

The Nishan Sahib ( Flag)

The Gold plating and marble work was carried out in 19 centenary under the patronage of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji and Sardar Hukam Singh Chimni who happened to be member and speaker of Parliament and then the Governor of Rajasthan state.

Architecture of Harimandir Sahib is a unique harmony between the Muslims and the Hindus way of construction work . It is often quoted that this architecture has created an independent Sikh school of architecture in the history of art in India.

View early morning Darbar Sahib , Amritsar

 Harmandir means the temple of God , Its sanctum came to house the Adi Granth , comprising compositions of Sikh Gurus and other saints considered to have Sikh values and philosphies

Harmandir Sahib , Amritsar

 

 

 

Darbar Sahib at Night , Amritsar

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