More than three crore Shiva devotees have visited Haridwar till now to collect the holy Ganga water to be offered as ‘Jalabhishek’ to Lord Shiva, the district magistrate said on Tuesday.
“Till yesterday, the number of Kanwariyas was three crore and five lakhs, there is no doubt that the number of ‘Kanwariyas’ who are leaving from Haridwar is more compared to the ‘Kanwariyas’ who arrive here today,” District Magistrate Vinay Shankar Pandey informed.
The Haridwar administration has made it compulsory for devotees to wear masks.
He further stated, “Today about 50 lakh Kanwariyas have arrived and overall the whole system is going well so far, we had already assessed.”
People from local and nearby districts of Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Saharanpur and those from local areas of Bijnor and Haridwar will also arrive to fetch the water of the Ganges.
On the occasion of Saawan Shivratri today, devotees took a holy dip at Har Ki Pauri and offered prayers at Daksheshwar Mahadev Temple.
“I have issued an order today, given the increasing cases of COVID-19 cases, we had already requested the Kanwar passengers on the border that wearing masks is mandatory. Amid large crowds, it is not possible to comply with social distancing, but from today the crowd has started decreasing,” the District Magistrate said.
“We have passed an order to make masks mandatory. Apart from this, emphasis will also be given to increasing the testing, as well as examining the people who have fever through genome sequencing,” the official said.
“We have made arrangements to ensure that those in Haridwar do not face any problems, our efforts have been very collective and we are praying that the Kanwar Mela should be completed safely,” he further said.
‘Kanwar Yatra’ is an annual pilgrimage undertaken by Lord Shiva’s devotees in which devotees known as ‘Kanwariyas’ visit places like Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand and Sultanganj in Bihar to fetch the holy water of the Ganges and then worship the God with the same water.
The Kanwar Yatra has resumed this year after a gap of two years due to Covid-19 restrictions. Administrations of several areas are adopting necessary measures to avoid any untoward incidents during the holy pilgrimage.