Saturday, 16 April 2011

Auto de Fe: Yatra-Pilgrims of India

Photo Courtesy Auto de Fe Magazine

Auto de Fe is a rather unusual name for a digital photo magazine, but one which the publishers seem to have chosen with definite purpose. It defines itself as a digital magazine of inquisitive journalism, and uses a platform called Publisha.

By the way,'Auto de fe' in medieval Spanish and 'auto da fé' in Portuguese mean "act of faith", but in popular use, an auto-da-fé has come to refer to burning at the stake for heresy.

The story that caught my eye is Yatra-The Pilgrims of India which is authored by Jack Laurenson. The photographs that make the essay do not carry a by-line.

For eight months a year, millions of Hindu pilgrims visit thousands of sacred sites and temples in India during the yatra season. Yatra is pilgrimage to holy places such as confluences of sacred rivers, places associated with the Mahabharata and Ramayana, and other sacred pilgrimage sites.

There are various types of pilgrimages, and some involve fetching water from the Ganges river, such as visits to Haridwar, Gangotri, Badrinath amongst others.  Some involve far flung places such as Dwarka in Gujarat, Puri in Orissa and Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu.