Connected Places

Region, Pilgrimage, and Geographical Imagination in India

by Anne Feldhaus

Series: Religion/Culture/Critique

Connected Places examines the words and actions of people who live in regions in the state of Maharashtra in western India to illustrate the idea that regions are not only created by humans, but given meaning through religious practices. By exploring the people living in the area of Maharashtra, Feldhaus draws some very interesting conclusions about how people differentiate one region from others, and how we use stories, rituals, and ceremonies to recreate their importance. Feldhaus discovers that religious meanings attached to regions do not necessarily have a political teleology. According to Feldhaus, "There is also a chance, even now, that religious imagery can enrich the lives of individuals and small communities without engendering bloodshed and hatred."

In The Press

'Among scholars born outside India, Anne Feldhaus is unquestionably the foremost Maharashtrianist of her generation. Now she asks the central question: What is Maharashtra? The answer unfolds in lucid prose that takes us to many corners of that pivotal region in western India, introducing us to the interconnected deities, rivers, mountains, temples, and people that make it what it is. Their stories are the subject of the book, but one of its most engaging features is the presence of Anne herself, asking the questions and describing the journey.' - John Stratton Hawley, Columbia University

'This important and engaging book interprets a rich set of oral and written sources from a single Indian state. Yet, through its focus on the myriad connections among Maharashtra's holy places, it transcends its geographical confines to illumine broad vistas of religious meaning: the persistence and power of holy places, the ritual elements of human community, and the sense of being at home in the universe.' - Donna Wulff, Brown University

About The Author

Anne Feldhaus is Professor of Religious Studies at Arizona State University.