Emic understandings of Kumbh Mela pilgrimage experiences

Christine N. Buzinde, Jyotsna M. Kalavar, Neena Kohli, David Manuel-Navarrete

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


This study interrogates pilgrims' motivations, activities and experiences of the 2013 Kumbh Mela pilgrimage, in Allahabad, India. It adopts an interpretive paradigm by so doing it responds to Eade's (1992) call for in-depth analyses that unveil the multifaceted nature of the pilgrim. The findings indicate that motives encompass a need for spiritual connectivity (devotion) and spiritual knowledge attainment (from saints). Two key activities occupied participants' time: serving self which included engaging in prayer, meditation, bathing in the revered River Ganges, listening to spiritual discourses, as well as serving others which entailed voluntary service endeavors. Descriptions of the experiential component encompassed experiences of spirituality and social unity. The study problematizes the nexus between pilgrimage tourism and participants perceived sense of solidarity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalAnnals of Tourism Research
StatePublished - Nov 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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