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AP PHOTOS: 7-hour trek to reach Andean ceremony

Tuesday - 9/17/2013, 10:07am  ET

In this Sept. 14, 2013 photo, women cook cuy chactado or fried guinea pigs to sell to pilgrims making the trek to the Lord of Huanca Sanctuary, at the foot of the Pachatusan mountain, near Cuzco, Peru. Each year, thousands of devotees from across Peru and neighboring countries come to Cuzco to make the annual seven-hour night hike up the mountain, to honor a 339-year-old image of Christ scourged and bleeding, known as the Lord of Huanca, on the walls of the shrine. The cult of the Lord of Huanca was officially recognized by the Catholic Church in 1779. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

CUZCO, Peru (AP) -- Every year, thousands of faithful trek for seven hours up to the foot of Peru's Pachatusan mountain to pay homage to the Lord of Huanca -- an image of Jesus Christ, scourged and bleeding, that tradition says was painted in a cave 339 years ago.

Believers say Jesus appeared to a native who had been forced into mine work and then fled, taking refuge in a cave to escape punishment by the Spanish. The man later described his vision to an artist who painted the image in a cavern in the Huanca region near the Andean city of Cuzco.

Devotees hike up to the sanctuary at night, carrying candles and flowers.


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