Kanwar Yatra is named after the kanvar a single pole with two roughly equal loads fastened or dangling from opposite ends. The kānvar is carried by balancing the middle of the pole on one or both shoulders. The Hindi word kanvar is derived from the Sanskrit kanvanrathi. Kanvar-carrying pilgrims, called Kanvarias, carry covered water-pots in kanvars slung across their shoulders. This practice of carrying Kavad as a part of religious pilgrimage, especially by devotees of Lord Shiva, is widely followed throughout India. Yatra means a journey or procession.
In the month of Shravan Saffron-clad kanwarias congregate at the celestial town Haridwar to collect holy ganga jal from Har-ki-Pauri and return home traversing barefoot to offer the Gangajal to Lord Shiva Lingam on the occasion of Shivratri.
Kanwarias are the ones who carry decorated ‘Kanwar’ or pole on their shoulder with the covered water pots balanced on its two ends. The annual Kanwar fair covers over 100- 250 kilometers by kanwarias barefoot. On the way they perform high decibel chants of bol bam, bam bam bhole or Har Har Mahadev as invocations to Lord Shiva.