A study of topographic symbolism of pilgrim landscapes offers an insight into aspects of the mother goddess' divinity. Pavagadh Hill in Gujarat, India is the abode of Kalika Mata and also the location of impregnable forts of Rajputs in the medieval era. It is now, as in the past, a site of pilgrimage and is considered a Shakti pitha (seat of the goddess). In climbing the hill, the pilgrim is made aware of Kalika Mata's simultaneous transcendence and immanence through the landscape itself. The hill is an embodiment of her shakti (power) and prakriti (nature). Kalika Mata's nurturing paradox is evident in the many talaos (water bodies) in the plateaus, made by damming and diverting the natural flow of water in the Rajput era. While the goddess is visualized in and through the landscape, it is mythology that anchors her narratives at specific sites in the Pavagadh Hill. The primeval landscape of bare rock, ephemeral springs, and layered vegetation, has evolved into a cultural landscape of worship in temples and shrines, small communities that draw their sustenance from pilgrimage, and holy organizations that facilitate and manage it.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Geography, Planning and Development