When gods cease migrating: the movements of gods, objects and people in Western Himalaya
Asaf Sharabi (Peres Academic Center)
Paper short abstract:
Gods, people, and objects move freely as a matter of routine in Western Himalaya. The last decade has witnessed changes in the migration of some gods. These changes can to some extent be explained by observing the migration of people.
Paper long abstract:
The ability to migrate through space is a cardinal tenet of religious belief in Western Himalaya. Gods, people, and objects move freely as a matter of routine. Thus we find gods who move between villages in their territory; people who accompany them and make pilgrimages to temples to plead before the gods and goddesses; and holy objects that are transferred from place to place. This ritual-movement mosaic acts to preserve the religious-social ferment, weaving social life into a dynamic web of holy sites and objects. The last decade has witnessed changes in the migration of some gods. These changes can to some extent be explained by observing the migration of people. As more people migrate, the gods are beginning to settle in place. The implications of this trend are diverse: they include a more independent and tourist-oriented religious experience that is more connected to the pan-Hindu religious experience.
Divine mobilities: how gods and spirits move through the world