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Cover

Mountain Goddess

Gender and Politics in a Himalayan Pilgrimage

William S. Sax

Publication Date - November 1991

ISBN: 9780195069792

256 pages
Paperback
5-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $54.95

Description

Every few decades, thousands of Hindu villagers in the Central Himalayas of North India carry their regional goddess Nandadevi in a bridal palanquin to her husband Shiva's home, walking barefoot over icebound mountain passes to a lake surrounded by human bones. This Royal Pilgrimage of Nandadevi is a ritual dramatization of the post-marital journeys of married women from their natal homes to their husbands' homes. Mountain Goddessis an anthropological study of this pilgrimage and the cult of Nandadevi, especially as they relate to local women's lives. The author shows how Nandadevi's appeal stems from the fact that her mythology parallels the life-courses of the local peasant women, and that her ritual procession imitates their annual journey to the village of their birth. Drawing on formal Indian theories, verbal commentaries, songs, interviews, articles, propaganda, legends, pan-Indian Sanskrit liturgies, historical documents, and the author's remarkable personal account of the pilgrimage, this gripping narrative is a unique resource for courses in the anthropology of religion, Hinduism, and folklore, ritual, and gender studies.

Table of Contents

    1. INTRODUCTION
    A Note on the Songs
    2. CREATION
    Songs for Women
    3. THE SMALL PILGRIMAGE
    Jats as Pilgrimages
    Birth and Marriage
    Place and Person in Garhwal
    The Male Model
    Separation and Reunion
    The Secret of Rupkund
    The Whole Village
    Bride-price
    A Female Perspective on Residence
    4. THE GODDESS AND THE DEMON
    Devi and the Buffalo Demon
    The Sacrifice
    The Social Effects of Ritual
    5. RAJ JAT
    History
    The Goddess and the Media
    The Background of Rivalry
    The Royal Pilgrimage of the Goddess Shri Nanda (1987)
    Ritual, Regionalism, and Politics
    Conclusion
    Appendix: Transliterated Texts
    Bibliography
    Index

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