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Women kanwariyas surge in Varanasi

A large number women kanwariyas can be seen chanting along with their male counterparts as they make their way through the serpentine Vishwanath Gali to offer gangajal to Lord Shiva at Kashi Vishwanath temple during Shrawan month.

lucknow Updated: Jul 24, 2017 15:54 IST
Sudhir Kumar
Sudhir Kumar
Hindustan Times, Varanasi
Gangajal,Women kanwariyas,Kashi
The women clad in saffron and holding their kanwars head to Dashashwamedh ghat (HT Photo)

The number of women kanwariyas has increased over the last several years. In Kashi, a large number women kanwariyas can be seen chanting ‘Har Har Mahadev’ along with their male counterparts as they make their way through the serpentine Vishwanath Gali to offer gangajal to Lord Shiva at Kashi Vishwanath temple during Shrawan month.

Soon after reaching Kashi, the women clad in saffron and holding their kanwars head to Dashashwamedh ghat where they take a holy dip and collect Gangajal. The groups offer prayers to Baba Kashi Vishwanath and start their journey back home with the holy water, which they offer to Lord Shiva in any ancient temple near their respective native places.

Septuagenarian Vijay Narayan, a socialist leader said, “I have been a regular visitor to Godowlia Chowk for the last five decades. There were no woman kanwariyas till a few years back. It all began around five years ago and now women kanwariyas can be seen in groups with their male counterparts in Kashi though their number is still not very large.”

He urged the administration to improve security as number of women kanwariyas was expected to rise in the coming years.

Pt Prasad Dixit, a trustee of Shri Kashi Vishwanath Mandir Trust, backs Vijay Narayan and says in recent years, many women kanwariyas could be spotted in Kashi. “Their figure has gradually increased in past few years. Many women kanwariyas can be seen sitting on the stairs of Dashashwamedh Ghat and also on streets,” said Dixit.

After offering prayers in Kashi, Kalawati Devi, a kanwariya from Jaunpur started for her home along with Gangajal where she would offer prayers to Trilochan Mahadev, an ancient temple of Lord Shiva. “I carry kanwar every year. This is the fourth time that I took part in the kanwar yatra. Usually I come with groups of male kanwariyas,” she said. Her preparations for the yatra begin a fortnight before the holy shrawan month.

Sarita Devi, who is also part of the group, said, she doesn’t feel tired during the long journey as faith keeps her going. Sarita walks with the group of kanwariyas, led by a male. Lalita Devi, Pramila, Durga Devi and Jaya Devi are also among the kanwariyas from Jaunpur. Kanwariyaas from various adjoining districts and even a large number from Allahabad visit Kashi during Shrawan.

First Published: Jul 24, 2017 15:54 IST