God's Gateway: Identity and Meaning in a Hindu Pilgrimage by James Lochtefeld

By James Lochtefeld

A celebrated Hindu pilgrimage web site, Hardwar lies at the river Ganges on the fringe of the Himalayas. Its id as a holy position is inextricably tied to the mythology and fact of the Ganges, and standard resources overwhelmingly tension this connection. almost not anything has been written approximately Hardwar's background and improvement, even if the old list unearths extraordinary adjustments of the previous few centuries. those adjustments have often mirrored worldly forces resembling moving alternate routes, superior transportation, or political instability. but such mundane impacts were overlooked within the city's sacred narrative, which offers a hard and fast, unchanging identification. The city's advanced identification, says Lochtefeld, lies within the pressure among those differing narratives. during this fieldwork-based research, Lochtefeld analyzes sleek Hardwar as a Hindu pilgrimage heart. He seems to be first at numerous teams of neighborhood citizens -- businessmen, hereditary monks, and ascetics -- and assesses their differing roles in dealing with Hardwar as a holy position. He then examines the pilgrims and the standards that convey them to Hardwar. None of those teams is as pious as popularly depicted, yet their interactions in upholding their very own curiosity create and retain Hardwar's non secular surroundings. In end, he addresses the broader context of Indian pilgrimage and the forces shaping it as we speak. He unearths that many glossy Hindus, like many sleek Christians, think a few dissonance among conventional non secular symbols and their 21st-century global, and they are reinterpreting their conventional symbols to cause them to significant for his or her time.

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Extra resources for God's Gateway: Identity and Meaning in a Hindu Pilgrimage Place

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Based on the extant manuscripts, the HDM (attributed to the Brahmanda Purana) dates from the early 1600s, whereas the MPM (attributed to the Kedarakhand of the Skanda Purana) appears about 1800. Both manuscripts draw from established puranas, but neither can be found in its putative source. Puranic ascription was clearly a device to confer authority on these texts, but the mahatmya’s compilers drew freely from many different sources. The two texts are also completely different and clearly independent of each other.

The only tirtha treated out of sequence here is Mayatirtha, since the question of its origin provides the introduction to MPM 17–18. 41 In both cases, the MPM’s compilers successfully wove the Varaha Purana’s text into their own narrative and broke up the material to conceal the source text. Despite Kubjamraka’s uncertain location, the HDM and the MPM have both identified it with Hardwar and integrated this mahatmya in their accounts. This was clumsy and obvious in the HDM and occurs in only one manuscript, albeit the oldest.

37 Such consistently vague textual references and the inability to locate the site today lead me to believe that Kubjamraka was never an actual place. Varaha 126 falls into three discrete parts: the charter myth recounting the sage Raibhya’s austerities, a list of Kubjamraka’s tirthas, and an extended narrative only peripherally associated with Kubjamraka. As related before, the charter myth describes how Raibhya performed harsh austerities at Gangadvara— the only place where a definite place name appears—and received a vision of Vishnu in a mango tree that was bent (kubja) under his weight.

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