The Uttarakhand government has cancelled the annual Kanwar Yatra in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Kanwariyas (devotees of Loed Shiv) converge at Haridwar to carry water from the river Ganga to offer at Shiv temples in their respective areas.
This is the second year in a row when the government has cancelled the Kanwar Yatra. The annual pilgrimage was scheduled to start on July 25 and conclude on August 6.
Last year too, the state government had cancelled the yatra.
The cancellation of the yatra had last year badly hit those who earn their living from religious tourism in Uttarakhand. Hotels, ashrams, guest houses and dharmashalas in the temple towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh used to be bursting at the seams at this time of the year because of kanwariyas.
Two weeks of Kanwar Yatra used to generate revenue worth Rs 150 crore in Haridwar but it has come to nil. If one adds Rishikesh, Gaumukh and Gangotri to the list, the business would touch Rs 500 crore per annum, according to a PTI report.
The cancellation of Kanwar Yatra is also set to hit the traders of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana who used to take stalls on lease at the fair.
Tourism, especially religious tourism, is the backbone of Uttarakhand's economy which has been battered hard by the pandemic.