The holy Kanwar Yatra the tradition of offering water to one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva (Baidyanath Dham Jyotirling) in Deoghar, Jharkhand, India by carrying Gangajal on his shoulder from Sultanganj is called Kanwar Yatra.
The Kanwar Yatra in the month of Sawan is considered an easy way to please Lord Shiva. It is said that the distance between Lord Shiva and the devotees gets reduced in this month.
Also read about: Baba Baidyanath Temple
Kanwar Yatra Deoghar
Baidyanath Nagri, Deoghar is crowded with Shiva devotees throughout the year, but in the month of Shravan, the entire area is covered with Shiva devotees wearing saffron clothes. Devotees of Lord Shiva come here on a journey to Kanwar by filling water from the Ganges flowing at Sultanganj in Bhagalpur, Bihar, 105 km away and offer water to Baba. However, many devotees, who are physically unable to cover this distance on foot, also come directly to Baba Baidyanath Dham by vehicles to perform Jalabhishek.
Baba Dham Kanwar Yatra has its own importance. Shiva devotees take a bath in the Ganges River at Sultanganj and offer worship at the Baba Ajgaibinath Temple and take a vow to complete the holy journey. They take Ganga Jal from the north-stream Ganga in two vessels and keep it in a Bahangi, which is called a kanwar. Shiva devotees carrying these Kanwars are called Kanwariyas or Kanwariyas. During the journey, the Kanwariyas address each other as ‘Bam ji’ or add ‘Bam’ to someone’s name and together they chant Bol Bal – Bol Bam.
There are many rules for the journey of Kanwar Yatra. Intoxicants, meat, alcohol and vengeful food are prohibited during the Kanwar Yatra. Apart from this, we cannot even touch Kanwar without taking a bath. It is said that whoever travels on foot in the month of Sawan with a kanwar on his shoulder and chanting Bol-Bam, gets the result of performing the Ashwamedha Yagya. It is believed that after his death he attains Shivaloka.
It is said that Ravana was the first Kanwariya. Lord Ram also became a Kanwariya and performed Jalabhishek in Baba Baidyanath Dham of Deoghar by taking Ganga water from Sultanganj. This mention is also found in Anand Ramayana.
There are three types of Kanwar or Kanwar Yatra
- Common Kanwariyas – Common kanwariyas carry Kanwar easily. Common Kanwariyas travel 20-25 kms per day according to their physical capacity. They stay in temporary service camps (camps) for food, night’s rest or sleep. The normal journey takes about 3 to 5 days to complete.
- Dak Bam – Dak Bam devotees keep walking till the Jalabhishek of Lord Shiva. The kanwariyas who wear the post cone do not rest. Pilgrims who do not stay in any camp and have to complete the journey in a single day are Dak bams. These dak bambs, who complete the journey within a day (usually 10 to 20 hours), give them the privilege of reaching the Baba Baidyanath temple at Baidyanath Nagri, Deoghar, while Common pilgrims who have to queue for miles.
- Dandi Bam – These devotees complete the journey from the river bank to the Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva by dand-baithak. As in hatha yoga, some devotees cover this distance by dand-baithak (prostration to the whole body), taking weeks or even months to reach the destination. They also carry a kanwar, but walk a mile, leave the kanwar on a stand, go back, crawl on it and repeat the process again.
However, many devotees, who are physically unable to cover this distance on foot, also come to Baba Baidyanath Dham by direct vehicles to perform Jalabhishek and perform Jalabhishek at Baba Baidyanath Jyotirlinga.
Kanwar Yatra Deoghar Route
Devotees of Lord Shiva start their Kanwar Yatra by filling the Ganges water from the north-stream Ganga at Ganga Dham in Sultanganj Ajgaivinath, Bhagalpur, Bihar and go to Baba Baidyanath Dham in Deoghar, Jharkhand. The total distance from Sultanganj to Deoghar is about 105 kms.
Following is the list of major camping places and halts along the Kanwar Yatra route from Sultanganj to Deoghar :
Sultanganj to Deoghar Route in KM
|Rampur||Chandan Nagar||18 km|
|Chandan Nagar||Suiya||16 km|
|Bhootbangla||Baba Baidyanath Temple||2 km|
Facility for Kanwar Yatra
Free food and medicines are provided to the Kanwariyas round the clock in the camps during the entire Kanwar Yatra. Along with the government, private organizations also take an active part in the service of Kanwariyas. Throughout the journey route, you can find several wooden stands at regular intervals where pilgrims can rest their kanwars.
After reaching the Baidyanath Nagari, Deoghar, the devotees get in a long waiting queue according to the number of pilgrims available for darshan. The temple management and district administration also provide fast darshanam facility on payment basis. Once the devotees complete the Jalabhishek at Baba Baidyanath Temple, they proceed to perform Jalabhishek at Baba Basukinath Temple which is in Dumka District, about 45 km from Baidyanath Nagari, Deoghar.
Rules for Kanwar Yatra
There are many rules for the journey of Kanwar Yatra. All the devotees wearing Kanwar must follow certain rules.
- Accuracy of speech and thought
- Alcohol and smoking should be avoided.
- Avoid using oils, soaps, shoes and leather items.
- Avoid planting Kanwar on the ground.
|Note: Intoxicants, meat, alcohol and vengeful food are prohibited during the Kanwar Yatra. Apart from this, all the devotees wearing Kanwar cannot even touch the Kanwar without taking bath during the Kanwar Yatra|
Precautions for Kanwar Yatra
- Always beware of pickpockets.
- Do not wear or keep any kind of precious jewelery (gold or diamond etc.) during the journey or in the temple premises.
- Do not believe the rumours at all. Find out the right information.
- In case of theft/conflict, contact the nearest policy station.
- Don’t crowd unnecessarily.
- Maintain a queue while entering the crematorium of the temple
- Follow all the instructions given by the officials.
- Stay safe from a stampede by keeping yourself calm.
Also read about: Shravani Mela
FAQs on Kanwar Yatra Deoghar
Q1. When will Kanwar Yatra Deoghar start in Year 2022 ?
Ans : This year’s Kanwar Yatra in Deoghar will start with the beginning of “Saavan” on 14th July 2022. Lakhs of devotees are expected to have darshan.
Q2. What is the distance from Sultanganj to Baidyanath Nagari Deoghar?
Ans : The distance from Sultanganj (Ajgaivinath) to Baidyanath Nagari Deoghar is about 105 KM.
Q3. How many days Kanwar Yatra Deoghar is completed?
Ans : Common Kanwar Yatris complete the Deoghar Kanwar Yatra in between 3 to 5 days. Dak Bam Shiva devotee completes this journey in one day.