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  • In Pursuit of Shiva

    Luke Whitmore

    Chapter from the book: Whitmore, L. 2018. Mountain, Water, Rock, God: Understanding Kedarnath in the Twenty-First Century.


    Kedarnath is one of the places in the Himalayas associated with the swargarohan, “climb to heaven,” of the Pandava princes and their wife, Draupadi. Whitmore uses the story of the Pandavas to frame a description of both the social worlds of Kedarnath and how he fit into those worlds. He shows how the interactions of the Pandavas with the partially unwilling, shape-shifting presence of Shiva in Kedarnath establish the purificatory power of Kedarnath. However, these interactions happen in a way that both values and calls into question the necessity of approaching the place with virtuous conduct and purity of intention. Further, the place has a history of being associated with suicide, death, and limit situations. Before the floods, these multiple valences informed the terrain, as they still do today, after the floods.

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    Whitmore, L. 2018. In Pursuit of Shiva. In: Whitmore, L, Mountain, Water, Rock, God. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.61.b

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    Published on Nov. 28, 2018