Hindu pilgrimages are one of the most remarkable aspects on Indian religious life.
SV CU Crowds of Hindu pilgrims arriving at Viziawada, Andra Pradesh, India with their belongings (2 shots)
TOP GV Crowds lining banks of the river Krishna
TOP VIEW ZOOM IN Holy man seated on ground with pilgrim
CU Man ringing bell
CU SV Priest performing religious ritual with rice balls (2 shots)
CU Pilgrim having his head shaven
CU People offering food to elephant
GV People bathing
SV PAN Bathers ZOOM IN TO CU Woman totally submerging herself
SV CU Bathers, including husband and wife with clothing tied in a knot (2 shots)
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Background: Hindu pilgrimages are one of the most remarkable aspects on Indian religious life. Hundreds of centres for these pilgrimages have for centuries possessed exceptional holiness. The reason for this sanctity often derives from their location on the bank of a holy river.
SYNOPSIS: One of these sacred rivers flows through Viziawada in Andhra Pradesh. The Krishna Pushkaram pilgrimage takes place in this central Indian state once every twelve years. It's an event of great significance. A bath in the River Krishna is supposed to have greater sanctity than immersion in any other of India's holy rivers, including the Ganges.
This ritual involves round balls made of rice. The priest distributes them to the pilgrims who offer them in remembrance to their ancestors. According to Hindu mythology, Brahma was the Lord of creation. Brahma created Pushkara -- another mythological god -- and made him Lord of all sacred rivers. The god Pushkara was ordered to spend part of every year in one of the twelve holy rivers. And so the Krishna Pushkaram pilgrimage takes place every twelve years when the planet Jupiter -- King of the gods -- enters the sixth zodiac.
The Hindu pilgrims believe that the sins of a lifetime can be washed away by bathing in the sacred waters. Visits to holy places in India are believed to bestow special benefits upon the Hindu pilgrims. Temples or ponds dedicated to Surya - the Sun - are visited to recover from leprosy. And they visit other places to escape from astrological threats.
The bathers included husbands and wives with their clothing tied in a knot -- an ancient belief that this will bring a longer married life.