chapter  21
25 Pages

T⁄rtha

BySurinder M. Bhardwaj, James G. Lochtefeld

Pilgrimage to sacred centers has occupied a venerable place in the long history of Hindu civilization and remains an important practice in modern Hindu life, both inside and outside of India. Although at the most literal level pilgrimage involves a place and people who travel to that place, both the places and the actions can have considerable symbolic content. When one investigates the meanings of these actions in light of their context-a particular time, place, and cultural milieu-the insights that one gains both reflect and reveal that context. As with any other realm of religious life, looking closely at pilgrimage can reveal a great deal about the fundamental assumptions in any religious tradition.