Roadside vends come up ahead of kanwar yatra
: Preparations have begun for the kanwar yatra that would be taken up by devotees of lord Shiva from Sangam city to Varanasi.
This year the kanwariyas have been given permission to play DJ music during yatra, with some preconditions.
Following the decision of the state government and hoping to make up for the loss in business due to first and second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, roadside shops near Sangam and Daraganj are being set up to enable kanwariyas buy things they need during the journey. The month of Shravan would begin from July 25 and excited kanwariyas said they were eager to undertake the arduous religious trek.
A host of items are on display at many of these makeshift roadside-vends, from saffron colored dresses, t-shirts, different sizes of tumblers, shoes, hand bands, rudraksh malas with 108 beads, decorated sticks with handles (to hang the vessels) and several other things that are in great demand among the kanwariyas.
“This year, the shopkeepers are selling eye-catching artistic works, both on the t-shirts and the sticks that would be used by the kanwariyas. DJ music, though only for playing religious songs, has been allowed and this is a great move that would make the trek truly enjoyable and motivating”, said Mahesh Chandra, 38 who has been undertaking this journey for a decade now.
“Apart from the dresses, the main attractions of these shops are the decorative items which we use for decorating the kanwar stick,” he shared.
The Kanwar stick is prepared by the family members of shop owners and a colourful stick costs anywhere between ₹150 to ₹350, depending on the vessel, decorations, quality.
“Due to the pandemic, the cost of t-shirt and other items have increased as compared to past, but we are happy that at least we would be undertaking the yatra while following all the Covid-19 protocols, said Rajesh Kumar Singh, another kanwariya.
The t-shirts, with pictures of lord Shiva, is being sold between ₹150 to ₹250, shorts are being sold for ₹80 to ₹150, bags for ₹50 to ₹65, flowers for ₹10 to ₹15 a piece and waist pouches for ₹150 to ₹250.
Suraj Yadav, 42, a local shop owner of Daraganj said, “We are happy that we would have some business during these testing times and believe that lord Shiva will bless us all through the kanwariyas who arrive at our shop.”