The spiritual journey of millions to Hinduism’s holiest sites, scattered across the Subcontinent.
Dusk falls on the scruffy pilgrim town of Haridwar, where the Ganges bursts free from the mountains. Thousands of Shiva’s devotees crowd the ghats along the river’s west bank. Bells, gongs and drums sound from riverside temples and priests rotate the ritual lamps. Hymns are sung, incense is lit and a stream of flowers and candle-bearing diyas are placed reverently on the surface of the swifty-flowing river, just beginning its thousand-mile journey across the plains to meet the sea. During the sacred month of Shavran, millions embark on their own winding journeys to Hinduism’s holiest sites, from ancient Varanasi to the Ganges’ source in the High Himalayan glacier of Gaumukh. Each is a yatra, a journey to where deities were born, where great rivers converge and where sins may be absolved.