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Now That’s What I Call Dedication…

August 8, 2010

For the past two days as I’ve been driving around South Delhi, I’ve seen young men walking – either alone or in groups of four or five – dressed in all orange and carrying decorated yoke-like contraptions across their shoulders.  When I asked Amrit’s family what this was all about, one of his cousins explained to me that it was Kavand Mela – a festival that happens every year around monsoon-time in July or August.

I didn't see quite this many walkers on Delhi's streets, but just for effect...

I came home and did some research to see what else I could find out about Kavand Mela.  (Most of what I found was from websites promoting hotel/tour packages during the festival.)

Kavand Mela is a pilgrimage in which people (usually young men) travel from their towns or villages to the city of Haridwar – an important pilgrimage location because it marks the site where the Ganges River first enters the Indo-Gangetic plains from the Himalayas.   Travelers collect water from the sacred Ganges, and then carry it (which explains all of the yokes I saw people carrying) back to their towns or villages to give it as an offering at their local Shiv Temples.  The young men I saw were wearing orange because, within Hinduism, the  color is supposed to  signify courage, sacrifice, and renunciation.  Pilgrims are supposed to walk the entire journey, which can take anywhere from days to weeks, depending on where they’re coming from.  And the really dedicated ones walk the entire thing barefoot!

Pilgrims gather on the banks of the Ganges during Kavand Mela

Photo Credits – onlytravelguide.com; http://www.hindu.com/2006/07/13/stories/2006071304320500.htm

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