Millions of people mostly Shia Muslims from around the world are converging in the Iraqi city of Karbala to pay homage to Imam Hussain in an annual holy festival known as Arbaeen or Ziara.
An estimated 30 million pilgrims are visiting the shrines of two revered Shi’ite figures , Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, and his half-brother Hazrat Abbas
Pilgrims move towards Karbala on foot from Iraq, Iran, and places farther afield, resting along the way in tents.
Many pilgrims come from as far away as USA, Georgia, Pakistan and India, though not all make the journey on foot.
Along the roads, stalls set up by locals see to it that no traveler goes hungry. Cooks prepare vast amounts of stewed lamb, grilled fish, fresh bread, and rice for the pilgrims, refusing payment for the meals.
The pilgrimage marks the 40th day of mourning of the anniversary of Imam Hussain’s death at the hands of the Umayyad forces in the Battle of Karbala.
Hundreds of pilgrims from Kashmir are also in the holy city of Karbala. Earlier this week in solidarity with Kashmir, pilgrims from different parts of the world were seen holding placards showing support to the ‘oppressed’ people of Kashmir.