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Half a million Hindu pilgrims hike to icy cave shrine

The AP reports that at least half a million Hindu pilgrims are making the pilgrimage to the icy Amarnath cave shrine, which lies 13,500 feet above sea level in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Hindus worship a stalagmite inside the cave as an incarnation of the Lord Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction and regeneration.

Altaf Qadri / AP

Hindu pilgrims make their way to the Amarnath cave shrine over a glacier near Panchtarni, 93 miles from Srinagar, India, on July 27.

Altaf Qadri / AP

A Kashmiri Muslim horseman tries to comfort a crying Hindu child before resuming their trek towards the holy Amarnath cave shrine from Sheeshnag on July 27.

Altaf Qadri / AP

Hindu pilgrims trek towards the Amarnath cave shrine at Sheeshnag on July 27.

Altaf Qadri / AP

Hindu pilgrims are carried on palanquins by Muslim bearers over a glacier near Amarnath cave on July 28.