37 dead in stampede during Hindu festival in India
Anxious relatives searched for missing family members in northern India on Monday during one of the world’s largest religious gatherings, unsure if their loved ones were caught in a stampede that killed 37 people or had simply gotten lost among the tens of millions of pilgrims.
People thronged to the main hospital in Allahabad to see if their relatives were among 37 dead and 39 people injured in Sunday evening’s stampede at the city’s train station. Tens of thousands of people were in the station waiting to board a train when railway officials announced a last-minute change in the platform, triggering the chaos.
An estimated 30 million Hindus took a dip Sunday at the Sangam – the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers – as part of the 55-day Kumbh Mela, or Pitcher Festival. Sunday was one of the holiest days to bathe. (AP Photo; AFP/Getty Images)
Hindu pilgrims hike over glaciers and mountain passes to visit the shrine in the Himalayas
Every year Hindu devotees brave sub-zero temperatures, hiking over glaciers and high altitude mountain passes to reach the sacred Amarnath cave, which houses an ice stalagmite, a stylized phallus, worshiped by Hindus as a symbol of the god Shiva.
Located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, at 3,888 m (12,756 ft) above sea level, Amarnath cave is considered to be one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism. The cave is surrounded by snowy mountains and covered with snow most time of the year, except for a short period of time in summer when it is open for pilgrims.