Amarnath: Journey to the shrine of a Hindu god

Each year, Hindu devotees make a pilgrimage to the sacred Amarnath Cave, one of the most revered Hindu shrines, near Baltal, Kashmir, India. The Amarnath Cave has been a place of worship since times immemorial, with references found in many ancient texts. According a Hindu legend, this is the cave where Shiva explained the secret of life and eternity to his divine consort Parvati. The cave itself is covered with snow most times of the year except for a short period in summer when it is open for pilgrims. The cave is situated at an altitude of 3,888 m (12,756 ft). Hindu devotees brave sub-zero temperatures to hike over glaciers and high altitude mountain passes to reach the sacred Amarnath cave, which houses an ice stalagmite, worshiped by Hindus as a symbol of the god Shiva. More than 700,000 Hindu pilgrims are expected to take part in this year’s two-month pilgrimage, according to local officials, causing strain on the environment and political stability of the region, which has long fought for independence from India.

The link is to 46 photos of the pilgrimage, through terrain which brings to mind Tibetan Buddhism rather than Hinduism.

Thank you for posting this link, Dale. This is a truly wondrous set of images from a starkly beautiful region of the world, and the human images are spellbinding, too.

The devotion of many of these people would put many Christians to shame. If these people ever become Christian, we’ll see many saints among them, I’m sure. Let us pray that every one of them will someday feel the love of Christ in his/her heart.

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