In this article I draw on a wide range of studies including my own field research to provide a bird’s-eye perspective of the various points of connection, confluence and overlap between Hindu pilgrimage and domestic tourism in contemporary India. This serves three aims. First, it presents an overview of the contemporary scene in India which lends itself to comparison. Second, it illustrates the ways in which a pilgrimage tradition can be explored via tourism, as opposed to something contrasted with tourism. Thus, I hope to demonstrate the many potential research avenues beyond asking who is a pilgrim and who is a tourist. Third, it seeks to locate lacunas for future research. I suggest four entry points into tourism that can each serve as departures for studying the contemporary nexus between a pilgrimage tradition and tourism: tourism as (1) a service industry, (2) a sector that motivates states and public bodies to act, (3) a travel culture and (4) a negotiated category, part of public discourses and imaginations. The article demonstrates the variety of ways in which Hindu pilgrimage becomes evermore entangled with domestic tourism, and the potential for new research angles this entanglement generates.
"At the Confluence of Leisure and Devotion: Hindu Pilgrimage and Domestic Tourism in India,"
International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://arrow.dit.ie/ijrtp/vol6/iss1/4