The act of seeing the holy sites was perhaps for these early pilgrims close to the Hindu experience of "taking darshan." Darshan means "seeing," and when Hindus go on pilgrimage they go for the darshan of a sacred place or famous image. For lay people, on pilgrimage or not, this is the central act of worship. Virtually anywhere in India, people can be seen gathering for the darshan of the god in courtyards of temples and at doorways of roadside shrines. They will crane their necks over great crowds assembled to watch some deity pass in procession — for they have come both to see and to be seen. This is why images of Hindu deities such as that of Krishna Jagannath at Puri often have enormous saucer eyes, to enable them to "see" large numbers of their devotees at one time. Darshan is not "looking," but an encounter, a mutual touching through the eyes.

Jennifer Westwood, On Pilgrimage