Kanwar Yatra is a sacred yatra in which Lord Shiva devotees from across India take part. The Lord Shiva devotees fetch water from the sacred Ganga river and from other revered water bodies in Haridwar, Rishikesh and Gaumukh. They carry the Kanwar made using bamboo where pitchers are tied on opposite ends. After taking a dip in Ganga, they carry the Kanwar on their shoulders during this yatra. Ahead of this Kanwar yatra, Odisha has banned ganja at all Shiva temples.
Odisha Prohibits Use Of Ganja At Shiva Temples
Odisha government has imposed a ban on the use of cannabis also called ganja at many Lord Shiva shrines across the state. The state has taken this step ahead of the revered yatra which happens during the monsoon season. Odisha government has strictly prohibited the use of ganja in all forms at Shiva temples.
Dilip Routray, the director of the Odia Language Literature and Culture department has instructed all officials of his department to carry forward all necessary steps to ban weed in Lord Shiva temples. Social activist Padmashri Baba Balia first made an appeal to the Odisha government for the same. Baba Balia stated that he first requested a ban on weed at Shiva shrines. He further added that while it can be offered to the deity it mustn’t be distributed among devotees for consumption.
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No Distribution Of Cannabis As Prasad Among Devotees
As per a Wion report, Padmashri Baba Balia stated that consuming ganja in the name of prasad or ‘bhog’ has a direct impact on people. Ganja is not offered to Lord Shiva at Bhubaneswar’s Lingaraj temple. However, it’s a 100-year-old practice where ganja is offered to the deity at Akhandalamani shrine in Bhadrak during ‘Gharsana’ ritual. This ganja offered to the deity is later distributed among devotees as prasad. Now, the Odisha government has banned the distribution and consumption of ganja at Lord Shiva temples in 30 districts of Odisha.
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Meanwhile, pilgrims visiting Lord Shiva temples during the Kanwar yatra may be checked for ganja as it’s prohibited within the temple premises. So, what do you think about the ban on ganja in Odisha’s Shiva temples?
Cover Image Courtesy: Canva