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Photo album by jorgesanchez: The Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage

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The Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage

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Winner of the photo album contest of the month Oct 2010

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album of the month contest Kumano Kodo is a pilgrimage path that leads to Kumano Sanzan (San in Japanese means three, because of the three grand shrines of Kumano: Hongu Taisha, Hayatama Taisha, Nachi Taisha). Kumano is located south of Kyoto and Nara, and has been since ancient times honoured as a holy place where the gods live. People entrust their future happiness to the gods by crossing rugged paths through wild nature to visit Kumano. For hundreds of years Japanese emperors have made that pilgrimage, on foot, and ordered the construction of rests and shelters to assist the pilgrims. In the past, Kumano was the “Land of Yomi”, the mythological land of the dead. Out of the three shrines, I chose Hongu Taisha because is the only of the three paths declared Patrimony of the Humankind by UNESCO under “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range”. Furthermore, Hongu Taisha is a Japanese version (although shorter) of the Camino de Santiago, in Spain. Both, Kumano Kodo and Camino de Santiago are considered sister pilgrimages. The path leading to Hongu Taisha, with its abundance of streams, rivers and waterfalls, is still part of the living culture of Japan and is much visited every year for ritual purposes and hiking. Some of its shrines were erected in the IX century and represent a combination of Shintoism, old Japanese beliefs and Buddhism. In short, the pilgrimage along the Kumano Kodo harmonizes heaven, earth and man. Here I go! (This album is devoted to Anaklet Atya, a saint and wise Franciscan Prater of the Romanian town Odorheiu Secuiesc (Székelyudvarhely in Hungarian), a man who used his ladder inside himself to climb to Heaven, and produced a miracle in Romanian/Hungarian (Szekler) Globo member Szidonia Sandor when she was just a tender little girl).

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