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In recent years, changes in religious studies in general and the study of Hinduism in particular have drawn more scholarly attention to other forms of the Hindu faith that are concretely embodied in temples, icons, artworks, rituals, and pilgrimage practices. This book analyses the phenomenon of pilgrimage as a religious practice and experience and examines Shrî Shailam, a renowned south Indian pilgrimage site of Shiva and Goddess Durga. In doing so, it investigates two dimensions: the worldview of a place that is of utmost sanctity for Hindu pilgrims and its historical evolution from medieval to modern times.
Reddy blends religion, anthropology, art history and politics into one interdisciplinary exploration of how Shrî Shailam became the epicentre for Shaivism. Through this approach, the book examines Shrî Shailam’s influence on pan-Indian religious practices; the amalgamation of Brahmanical and regional traditions; and the intersection of the ideological and the civic worlds with respect to the management of pilgrimage centre in modern times.
This book is the first thorough study of Shrî Shailam and brings together phenomenological and historical study to provide a comprehensive understanding of both the religious dimension and the historical development of the social organization of the pilgrimage place. As such, it will be of interest to students of Hinduism, Pilgrimage and South Asian Studies.