Laxmi Maya Prajapati works on the reconstruction of the Trailokya Mohan Narayan temple in Kathmandu Durbar Square, Nepal. Reconstruction of the temple, which was built in the 17th century and destroyed in the April 2015 earthquake, began last month.
During the Nag Panchami festival on Aug. 16, Hindu devotees visit a temple in Nagpokhari, a neighborhood in Kathmandu, Nepal, to do puja, a religious ceremony in which they offer milk, money and flowers to Hindu snake deities.
Tamil Hindus gather at Vavvala Lake in the Sri Lankan village of Cheddikulam for the annual Aadi Amavasai, or the new moon for the Tamil month Aadi, which occurs in July and August. To pray for the souls of their departed fathers, the group observes several rituals on the occasion.
In downtown Mexico City, Ma Ortensia Rico Lara, 56, an Evangelical, preaches the “Evangelio de la Salvación” (Gospel of Salvation), inviting people to ask questions and reading from Scripture. Rico Lara, who has spoken at this downtown plaza every day from 4-10 p.m. for the past 10 years, says, “Preaching is the opportunity for human beings to save themselves.”
Members of the Shri Krishna Pranami religious community read the “Shri Tartam Sagar,” a holy book about Krishna, a supreme Hindu god, during a gathering in Gothatar, a village in Kathmandu, Nepal. The god’s devotees believe that reading the book will bring them happiness and peace.
Jigme Tsechos (foreground) is one of the 60 nuns from the White Monastery (Seto Gompa), of the Drukpa Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, who clean the Swayambhunath stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. These nuns, who also clean other stupas and temples around Kathmandu to help keep the environment healthy, work on this stupa every Saturday.
Children from the community of Banepa, Nepal, help fold a cloth to prepare a chariot for Chandeshwori Jatra, one of the largest festivals in the Kavrepalanchowk district. The chariot carried an image of the Hindu goddess Chandeshwori during the two-day festival, which is held annually during a full moon. The event marked the Buddha Jayanti, or Buddha’s birthday, on April 30.
Israel Hernández Guzmán, 30, constructed a carousel ride on April 20 for a celebration that paid homage to the Niñopa, a 16th-century wooden statue of the infant Jesus. This statue is brought periodically from the Mexico City delegation of Xochimilco, where it is kept, to the Xoco neighborhood in the southern part of the city. Hernández Guzmán has been involved with traveling fairs since he was a little boy.
Emelda Chola leads a group in a dance for Palm Sunday at the Cathedral of the Child Jesus in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, on March 25. Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the Holy Week for Christians and commemorates the day when Jesus entered Jerusalem before his crucifixion. Chola is holding palm branches, which symbolize the branches that were used to welcome Jesus as he entered the city.
In what is known as a Kalash Yatra procession, girls walked shoeless around their village, Bhula Ghau, for three hours on Feb. 13 to celebrate Mahashivaratri, a Hindu festival honoring Lord Shiva. The procession began at Ishwari Ganga Dham, a temple in Nepal’s Baitadi District. Each girl carried a “kalash,” a sacred copper pot filled with water, and bilva leaves from a native fruit tree, because it is believed to make Lord Shiva happy, so that he will fulfill their wishes.
Kamal Shrestha (left), 32, lights a lamp with his 1-year-old son, Kapil, at the Swayambhunath temple in Nepal's Kathmandu Valley. Believers light many lamps at once to get their wishes fulfilled and to get blessings from Buddha.
Women from each of the neighborhoods in the city of Chiapa de Corzo, Mexico, bring offerings of bread, sugar and fruit to the altar of San Sebastián. The women wear blouses stitched by hand using the "contado" technique, a traditional style of cross-stitch embroidery for Chiapaneca clothing, a style that dates back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Each year, during the Fiesta Grande de Chiapa de Corzo, the figure of San Sebastián, a martyr who is one of the city's patron saints, is moved to a different home, where the altar of offerings is placed.
Raju Muni Bajracharya, a 42-year-old priest, paints statues of the deities White Tara and Green Tara, in a temple dedicated to Avalokiteshvara, also known as Seto Machendranath, who is worshiped by both Hindus and Buddhists. The temple is in Jan Bahal, in Kathmandu, Nepal. Once a year, the deities are cleaned and repainted, because it is believed a year is only a day for the gods.
Rodrigo Aguilar Martínez displays a document that was issued by Pope Francis and that names Aguilar Martínez bishop of the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas, in Chiapas state, Mexico. Aguilar Martínez took office on Jan. 3 with a public religious ceremony and a Mass attended by thousands of mestizo and indigenous parishioners. The ceremonies were conducted in a variety of languages, including Latin, Spanish, Tzotzil, Tzeltal and Chol.
Children from Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic church performed a Nativity play in Bulawayo Centenary Park in Zimbabwe. The event, organized by the Bulawayo City Council, also featured fireworks and the switching on of Christmas lights simultaneously throughout the city.
A statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe watches over pilgrims who spent the night on Dec. 12 at the atrium of the Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe, a Catholic sanctuary in the north of Mexico City, dedicated to the Virgin. Every year on that date, the eve of the saint’s feast day, thousands of the faithful come to the basilica to express gratitude to the Virgin. Many camp out until midnight, when a serenade is sung to her and a Mass is celebrated.
Hindu priest Udhav Man Karmacharya performs puja, or an act of worship, on the Taleju goddess shrine in Hanuman Dhoka, a royal palace complex in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital. Once a year, the shrine is brought to the Guhyeshwari Temple for puja before it returns to the Taleju Temple in Hanuman Dhoka.
Sarita Khanal and her husband, Padam Chetri, with help from Hindu priest Baikuntha Dhakal (right), perform a puja to worship the god Vishnu for the Hindu holiday Haribodhini Ekadashi in Kathmandu, Nepal. The worship includes a fast that Hindus believe will wipe away sins committed in previous lives.
Members of the Apostolical Holy Church sing and praise God on top of Domboramwari, a large boulder whose name means “the stone of God” in the Shona language, in Epworth, a settlement about 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Harare, Zimbabwe. People come to rest and pray here, and it is believed that the boulder has footprints of God from when the stone was still lava.
During the Chhath Puja festival on Oct. 26 in Kamal Pokhari, a neighborhood in the heart of Kathmandu, Nepal, Gita Budhathoki (center), 55, prayed to Surya, the Hindu sun god, by putting an offering of mixed flour and coloring into the Kamal Pokhari pond. This ancient Hindu festival is traditionally observed by four days of prayer and thanks to the sun god and his sister, Chhathi Maiya, to promote well-being and the development and prosperity of humankind.
Amina Daudi, 25, (left) teaches other Muslim women to read about the life of the Prophet Muhammad in the Quran during their weekly religious meeting in Epworth, a settlement about 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Harare, Zimbabwe. It is a tradition in their mosque for women to meet every Monday and teach one another about Islam.
Ani Chokyi (right), a female monk, recites prayers with other Buddhist monks and devotees during the chöd puja, a monthly worship gathering at the Padma Varna Mahayan Bihar, a monastery in Jyatha Bahal, an area in Patan, Nepal. The devotees use instruments like a damaru drum and a bell as they recite from the Buddhist prayer book.
Tour guide Bernard Tenywa (right) leads children from the Canossa St. Joseph Lweza Kindergarten in a moment of prayer at the Uganda Martyrs’ Shrine, a Catholic church in Namugongo, a suburb of Uganda’s capital, Kampala. This faith-based tourism site, which is about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) northeast of Kampala, is known for the killings of Ugandan Roman Catholic martyrs in 1885, after the king, Mwanga, decreed that they must denounce their faith or be burned alive.
Adela Álvarez, 50, (center) reacts to being anointed with holy water at a chapel outside the Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe, a Catholic sanctuary in Mexico City dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe. Álvarez says she is very devoted to the Virgin of Guadalupe, and she often goes to the basilica to ask for help or to express gratitude.