International Journal of Environmental Sciences

Volume 3 Issue 6 2013- June 2013    Pages: 2269-2277  <<Previous    Next>>

Pilgrimage and the environment: Challenges in a pilgrimage centre in Maharashtra, India

Author Information:

Priyanka Patange1, Srinithivihahshini N.D2, Mahajan D.M3
1-Research Student, Department of Environmental Management, Bharathidasan University, Trichy, Tamilnadu, India.
2-Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Management, Bharathidasan University, Trichy, Tamilnadu, India.
3- Associate Professor, Department of Botany, Waghire College, Saswad, Dist. Pune, (University of Pune) Maharashtra, India.


The land of Maharashtra is blessed by the holy stay of many a great Saints and Spiritual Leaders. Some of the most important pilgrim destinations in Maharashtra are Pandharpur, Tulajapur, Shirdi, Alandi, Dehu, Ashta Vinayak, etc. These pilgrim towns attract large number of pilgrims from various parts of the country. However, typically most of these places are small towns/villages with populations ranging about a few thousands and hence lack the necessary infrastructure to cater to the large number of pilgrims visiting them every year. As a result, this has put lot of stress on the local natural resources and there has been a steady degradation of the local environmental conditions. Large scale movement of visitors during pilgrimages has a high potential to influence the environment in sacred sites. In traditional pilgrimage, environmental effects are governed by seasonality and are limited over time and space. This paper argues that significant changes in scale, frequency and character of such visitation over the past few decades reflect new pressures on the environment of sacred sites.  This paper explores causal linkages between different factors that shape the environment in a pilgrimage centre.

Keywords: Pilgrimage, environment, Maharashtra


© 2013 Copyright by the authors, licensee Integrated Publishing Association.This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (3.0) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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