» 07/14/2012, 00.00
Himalaya: Tragic start to Hindu pilgrimage to caves of Shiva
Since June 25 there have been 72 deaths from exposure to the cold, heart attacks and accidents. In less than a month, over 4 million faithful visit natural cave of Amarnath situated in the Himalayas. The place is famous throughout India for ice formations sacred to the god Shiva.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Every year thousands of Indian devotees undertake a pilgrimage to the cave of Amarnath in the Himalaya. In a natural cave of the mountain, because of infiltration of water from the top, a column of ice is formed that looks like a lingam that all over India is a sacred and holy symbol of Shiva.
During the summer months thousands of pilgrims climb kilometers and kilometers of mountain paths in devout pilgrimage. As many as 4,23,681 pilgrims have visited the cave shrine till last week as reported by The Times of India.
But the climbing is so hard that every year not a few people faint and die. Four more pilgrims and a porter died en-route to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas since Thursday night, taking the toll during this year's pilgrimage to 72, officials said.
Sixty-year-old Nirmala Tripathi, a resident of Uttar Pradesh, died of cardiac arrest at the 3,880 metre high cave shrine after paying obeisance to the naturally formed ice-shivlingam on Thursday night, the officials said.
In another case, Chand, a resident of Madhya Pradesh, suffered a heart attack and died near Brarimarg along 16-km Baltal cave route in Ganderbal district on Thursday, they said.
Two unidentified pilgrims, including a woman, were found dead along the traditional 45-km Pahalgam cave route between Chandanwari and Panjtarni, the officials said, adding efforts were on to identify the deceased.
A porter identified as Abdul Rehman Paddar, 65, hailing from Anantnag district, died of cardiac arrest at Zojibal near Pahalgam, raising the number of porters who passed away during the pilgrimage to two, they said.
The annual Amarnath yatra commenced on June 25 from the twin tracks from Baltal and Pahalgam and was going on smoothly although the weather remained cloudy on Friday.
In India religious pilgrimages are very popular among all religions. Also the Catholics like to go to Mount Mary in Mumbai or to Vailankanni in Tamil Nadu. Some missionaries in their efforts of inculturation undertook pilgrimages to the traditional Hindu sites like Arunachala mountain in Tamil Nadu or Haridwar where Ganges enter the plains. The Benedictin monk Henry Le Saux published a diary of his pilgrimage to the source of Ganges. Also Raimon Panikkar wrote about his pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain of Kailasha.
Easter in Mumbai, 291 adults receive baptism. Even a Muslim
Among the baptized, there is a young man, Navid, the son of a Sunni Muslim and a Hindu woman from a Brahmin family. In a moment of great despair, he experienced a kind of inner revelation: "At that moment I accepted Christ and my life has completely changed."
Poor Hindu protest ten euro to pay homage to Shiva
Over 500 thousand Hindu pilgrims remain outside the temple, waiting up to eight hours in a queue. The cost of the ticket, allows rich tourists to jump the queue. In the clashes over a hundred wounded and dozens of arrests. Hindu pilgrims: "The demand for money to enter the temple is an insult to people's devotion."
Ambiguous opening to Hindu Dalits, more discrimination against Christian Dalits
A paper close to Hindu paramilitary group calls for outcastes to be allowed to head major Hindu pilgrimage centres. Commission investigating Dalit rights further postpones release of its report.
21/04/2016 15:47:00 INDIA
Chhattisgarh: 11-year-old girl cuts off tongue to offer to lord Shiva
The incident occurred on Wednesday in Sangeetarai village. After initially losing consciousness, she continued to pray in front of a religious symbol, drawing a crowd of curious onlookers. Local authorities deputed a medical doctor to monitor her health.
Our Lady of Velankanni, the "Lourdes of the East" celebrates 50 years
An hour of prayer a day throughout 2012. John XXIII elevated the shrine in Tamil Nadu to basilica, November 3, 1962. During the 2005 tsunami, the "Lourdes of the East" saved the lives of people who were inside.
VATICAN - JAPAN
Pope to Japanese Bishops: Be the salt and light of society, even going against the trends
During the pastoral visit of Card. Fernando Filoni, Prefect of Propaganda Fide, to the Land of the Rising Sun, Pope Francis urges the bishops and the Japanese Church to renew their missionary commitment to society, marked by suicides, divorces, religious formalism, material and spiritual poverty. The request to collaborate with ecclesial movements, perhaps in memory of the controversy with the Neocatechumenal Way.
18/09/2017 JAPAN - VATICAN
18/09/2017 VATICAN - JAPAN
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.