Guest is God: Pilgrimage, Tourism, and Making Paradise in India

ISBN : 9780190883553

Drew Thomases
240 Pages
156 x 156 mm
Pub date
Dec 2019
Send mail

Every year, the Indian pilgrimage town of Pushkar sees its population of 20,000 swell by two million visitors. Since the 1970s, Pushkar, which is located about 250 miles southwest of the capital of New Delhi, has received considerable attention from international tourists. Originally hippies and backpackers, today's visitors now come from a wide range of social positions. To locals, though, Pushkar is more than just a gathering place for pilgrims and tourists: it is where Brahma, the creator god, made his home; it is where Hindus should feel blessed to stay, if only for a short time; and it is where locals would feel lucky to be reborn, if only as a pigeon. In short, it is their paradise. But even paradise needs upkeep. In Guest is God, Drew Thomases uses ethnographic fieldwork to explore the massive enterprise of building heaven on earth. The articulation of sacred space necessarily works alongside economic changes brought on by tourism and globalization. Here the contours of what actually constitutes paradise are redrawn by developments in, and the agents of, tourism. And as paradise is made and remade, people in Pushkar help to create a brand of Hindu religion that is tailored to its local surroundings while also engaging global ideas. The goal, then, becomes to show how religion and tourism can be mutually constitutive.


Note on Transliteration
Introduction: Mapping Out Paradise
Chapter One: Others and Brothers
Chapter Two: Making Pushkar Paradise
Chapter Three: Savitri's Curse
Chapter Four: Camel Fair Kaleidoscopic
Chapter Five: Peace but No Quiet
Works Cited

About the author: 

Drew Thomases is Assistant Professor in the Religious Studies Department at San Diego State University. His work focuses on the anthropology of religion in North India--more specifically, Hindu pilgrimage and practice--though he is broadly interested in tourism, globalization, environmentalism, and theoretical approaches to the study of religion.

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.