Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Pilgrimage.

Religion is big in India. Everybody knows that and I've been tasting it first hand. The ever-presence of temples and ceremonies of all faiths, purges, festivals and pilgrimages is as natural and common as the air you breathe. Yet, there are some occasions where I find myself surprised and disorientated. Overwhelmed I should say.

Holi in Mathura had a couple of moments like those and the pilgrims we kept driving into in Kachchh had the same effect on me. There's an annual Muslim pilgrimage, around 200km long and in the Indian fashion it's done on foot. Tents with blaring music as makeshift resting stops, a sea of discarded plastic chai cups around and the endless river of people walking as if forever. Some carrying suitcases, others only green flags, families or single youngsters on their mobile phones. And camels, horses, carts and rickshaws. I counted a few hundreds in 15 minutes and they were walking for days. In the desert. All this commitment, the energy, the faith. All I could do was stare.