Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality, and to see the links to virtual rooms.

Accepted Paper:

Bringing Krishna’s Mount Govardhan to London; divine service among the Pushtimarg (Path of Grace)  
Anishka Gheewala (LSE)

Paper Short Abstract:

The diasporic tradition of Pushtimarg, Krishna worshippers bring the sacred landscapes of Vraj in India to London. Recreating Krishna’s rural birthplace in temples and domestic spaces gives devotees a sense of rootedness in urban neighbourhoods (un)doing diasporic devotee (un)ease with new contexts

Paper Abstract:

As Pushtimarg devotees circle the recreated Mount Govardhan in a maroon carpeted hall in the UK, the sounds of traffic, songs (kirtan) on the CD player and swishes of traditional Indian sarees permeate the worship space. One devotee recalls her pilgrimage to Vraj, as she circles. Another recalls his seva to the cows in Vraj. Recreating the rural pastures of Vraj in the (sub)urban areas of greater London strengthens and diffuses religious experience rooted in India to devotees around the world.

Boundaries of wild and domesticated, urban and rural, public and private are permeated by the Pushtimarg practice of seva in cultivated settings of sacred space. Seva models on mothering a baby Krishna in the household and in temples by paralleling human caretaking to a divine baby. The sense of rootedness that is created through place-making is not fixed in India but moves with the community. This is not a narrative of the UK diaspora ‘copying’ India. Both settings are equally authentic. However, the Pushtimarg is a fluid community with an increasingly diasporic component. From migratory stories of uprootedness, the lines of connectedness through Krishna mythology are mediated by recreated sacred landscapes. This undoes static representations of so-called traditional religious movements as unchanging, or diasporas as assimilating and losing their identity while accentuating the movement’s connection to the imagery of Indian divine landscapes. This adaptive capacity allows for innovative religious place-making, maintaining a sense of universal Krishna mythology while generating new forms of worship and sacred space in the diaspora.

Panel P204
Roots and their undoing: ethnographies of connection and dislocation
  Session 1 Wednesday 24 July, 2024, -