Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Saturday welcomed 'kanwariyas' (Shiv devotees) in Haridwar by washing their feet and said serving them was a pious act.
In a programme at the Ganga Ghat near Damkothi in Haridwar, the chief minister said that last year, about four crore 'kanwariyas' had come to Uttarakhand from different parts of the country and the number is expected to increase this year.
The state government has made adequate arrangements such as health camps and resting places at several locations for the devotees who have come to collect "Gangajal", according to an official statement
Chief Minister Dhami welcomed the 'kanwariyas' by washing their feet and also gave them "Gangajal" as a mark of respect, it said.
Describing it as a privilege of the state government to welcome the 'kanwariyas', he said serving them is a pious act.
The kanwar yatra started with the beginning of the month of 'sawan' on July 4.
In view of increase in the number of 'kanwariyas' during the yatra, a holiday has been declared for all schools in Haridwar district from July 10 to July 17.
The Haridwar District Magistrate, Dheeraj Singh Gabryal, in an order said in view of the difficulty in movement of students, all government and non-government schools in the district will have a holiday till Somvati Amavasya on July 17.
-With PTI Input