pilgrimage
   Visiting holy sites is one of the central activities in Hinduism. Many pilgrims visit shrines, rivers, sacred mountains, and sacred groves to obtain spiritual benefits; others go to achieve the worldly benefits that can also accrue from visiting a holy place. Women commonly vow to visit the shrine of a certain saint or god in order to have a child, especially a son. Some may visit a shrine and shave their heads there in order to win success at an exam or important business deal.
   All sects in Hinduism do pilgrimage. SHAIVITES, SHAKTAS, and VAISHNAVITES alike have myriad important sites. Vaishnavites target the many places where RAMA or KRISHNA visited or lived, as well as the many temples where other forms of VISHNU are enshrined. Mathura, BRINDAVAN, and DVARAKA are particularly important for the devotees of Krishna, while AYODHYA is visited as the birthplace of Rama. Shaivites visit the many Religious mendicants on pilgrimage in Sonnamarg, Kashmir (Constance A. Jones) temples and shrines with SHIVA LINGAM, in addi-tion to many other temples to Shiva that can be pilgrimage destinations. SHAKTAS or goddess worshippers have 53 shrines where parts of the goddess are said to have fallen when she was cut into pieces.
   Among important pilgrimage cities are Gaya, BENARES (Varanasi), HARIDVAR, and Ujjain. Impor-tant rivers are GANGES, YAMUNA, Godavari, Nar-mada, and CAUVERY.
   Perhaps the most significant pilgrimage site for Hindus is Benares. The primary aim of pil-grims in Benares is to bathe in the holy Ganges, which is said to confer heaven upon those who bathe in her. People nearing the end of their lives often go there, so that their ashes can be thrown into the river, and they can reach liberation from birth and rebirth.
   Further reading: Anne Feldhaus, Connected Places: Region, Pilgrimage and Geographical Imagination in India (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003); Baidyanath Saraswati, Traditions of Tirthas in India: The Anthropol-ogy of Hindu Pilgrimage (Varanasi: N. K. Bose Memorial Foundation, 1983); Man Mohan Sharma, Yatra: Pilgrim-ages in the Western Himalayas (Noida: Trishul, 1989).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

Synonyms:
(especially to some hallowed place), , ,


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pilgrimage — Pil grim*age, n. [OE. pilgrimage, pelgrinage; cf. F. p[ e]lerinage.] 1. The journey of a pilgrim; a long journey; especially, a journey to a shrine or other sacred place. Fig., the journey of human life. Shak. [1913 Webster] The days of the years …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pilgrimage — (n.) mid 13c., pelrimage; see PILGRIM (Cf. pilgrim) + AGE (Cf. age) …   Etymology dictionary

  • pilgrimage — *journey, voyage, tour, trip, jaunt, excursion, cruise, expedition …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • pilgrimage — [n] long journey crusade, excursion, expedition, mission, tour, travel, trip, wayfaring; concept 224 Ant. jaunt …   New thesaurus

  • pilgrimage — ► NOUN ▪ a pilgrim s journey …   English terms dictionary

  • pilgrimage — [pil′grə mij] n. [ME pilgrymage < OFr pelegrinage < pelegrin,PILGRIM] 1. a journey made by a pilgrim, esp. to a shrine or holy place 2. any long journey, as to a place of historical interest …   English World dictionary

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  • Pilgrimage — In religion and spirituality, a pilgrimage is a long journey or search of great moral significance. Sometimes, it is a journey to a sacred place or shrine of importance to a person s beliefs and faith. Members of many major religions participate… …   Wikipedia

  • pilgrimage — Traditional pilgrimage practices, having all but ceased to exist during the Cultural Revolution, re emerged in the 1980s. In addition, new forms of pilgrimage to sites associated with CCP history and the revolution that appeared following the… …   Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture

  • PILGRIMAGE — In Hebrew the term aliyah (lit. going up ) has been used since ancient times for pilgrimages to Jerusalem on the three festivals known as shalosh regalim). The Torah prescribes that all males must go up to Jerusalem three timesa year on the three …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • pilgrimage — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ annual ▪ religious, spiritual VERB + PILGRIMAGE ▪ go on, make ▪ She made a pilgrimage to visit the place where h …   Collocations dictionary

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