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Pilgrimage in the Hindu Tradition: Salvific Space

Knut A. Jacobsen
30 September 2012

This book will is the first comprehensive study on sacred space and pilgrimage in the Hindu tradition, providing a detailed presentation of this phenomenon. In no other religion is sacred space and pilgrimage of such importance. Focusing on historical, sociological and environmental questions about the phenomenon of sacred space and pilgrimage in Hinduism, the author analyzes how power of place and pilgrimage became a central feature of Hinduism. He examines the meaning of the phenomenon in history and in contemporary India. Arguing that salvific power of place became a major dimension of Hinduism through a development in several stages, the book thus analyzes the historical process of how sacred space and pilgrimage in the Hindu tradition developed. Drawing on main sources such as inscriptions, Mahabharata, the Puranas, the medieval digests on sacred places (tirthas), a number of contemporary Sthalapuranas and Mahatmyas praising the sacred places as well as secondary sources, the book is also enriched by original data from the author’s fieldwork. Case studies of some of the main Hindu pilgrimage places, their characteristics and their place in the pilgrimage system provide additional information.