Pilgrimage in the Indo-Gangetic Plains: Politics, Religion, and Folk Tradition at a Confluence of Rivers in North India


Amit Singh (Ambedkar University Delhi)

In India pilgrimages have often been the sites of convergence and/ or continuum between natural environments and the emerging politico-economic structures appropriating social and cultural moorings. These “centres” located in the natural settings like forests, mountains, river banks, sea shores, etc. align the “local” worldviews towards larger structures of politics, economy, and religion. I propose to investigate one such pilgrimage tradition, known as Magh Mela, held annually at the confluence of three holy rivers: Ganga, Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswati. A study of this “space” and the impact of ongoing COVID crisis on this year’s festival held in January-February, 2021 shall be the focus of my paper.

Part of 34-05 Politics, Ethnicity, and Nation in Religious Ritual and Storytelling, Wednesday, October 20, 2:15 pm–3:45 pm