Spatial and visual dimensions of pilgrimage in South Asia 
Joerg Gengnagel (University of Heidelberg)
Vera Lazzaretti (Heidelberg University)
Room 213
Start time:
28 July, 2016 at 17:30 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

The panel addresses spatial and visual dimensions of pilgrimage in South Asia by exploring its local variations and inner spaces, with a focus on the visual productions connected to it, such as maps, diagrams, illuminated manuscripts and built-substitutes for pilgrimage.

Long Abstract

There are several types of religious journeys or movements in space to be found in South Asia, some of them seemingly becoming more popular during the last decades. Horstmann (2008) distinguishes the categories parikramā (circumambulation), tīrthayātrā (journey to sacred places), padyātrā (march), śobhayātrā (journey of splendour) and rathyātrā (procession with sacred object) and delineates specific differences of each movement in space, at the same time stressing that these types and terms tend to overlap in many ways.

Visual representation of space and the variety of movements in space is an important cultural practice that is subject to negotiation by different actors, and can have various uses. Such spatial practices and the ways of constructing their various meanings in fact have repercussions for social and political discourses at various levels.

In order to illuminate the complexity of pilgrimage, document its dimensions and varied understandings we invite papers that highlight the overlapping of inner and outer space, movement and immobility as well as text and image by addressing:

• local variations of pilgrimage (such as circumambulations/processions in urban contexts)

• inner and immobile pilgrimages (mental visualization or interiorizasion through diagrams, mnemonic lists)

• 'substitutes' for pilgrimages (shrines or areas that 'replace' a circuit)

• visual devices to reenact and represent pilgrimages (tīrthapaṭa, pilgrims maps, visual texts, illuminated manuscripts, early prints).

Horstmann, Monika. 2008. "An Indian Sacred Journey". In: Jörg Gengnagel, Monika Horstmann & Gerald Schwedler (ed.). Prozessionen, Wallfahrten, Aufmärsche. Bewegung zwischen Religion und Politik in Europa und Asien seit dem Mittelalter. Köln: Böhlau, pp. 336-360.

Accepted papers: