Geography Program (SNR)


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Published in SACRED GEOGRAPHY OF GODDESSES IN SOUTH ASIA, edited by Rana P. B. Singh (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars , 2010), pp. 109-124. Copyright 2010 Georgana Foster & Robert Stoddard.


Vaishno Devi in Jammu has been designated as the "Elder Sister" among the six other Devi shrines in a fairly narrow belt of the Siwāliks between the Yumunii and Chenāb Rivers. During the last few decades Vaishno Devi has become especially important. Pilgrimage to the shrine has increased from 30,000 to almost 7 million since Independence, when the political geography of the region increased accessibility, both physically and perceptually. The growth in the number of visitors can be attributed also to a change in administration of the shrine and to the tremendous increase in religious tourism. Vaishno Devi is now the preeminent goddess among the Seven Sisters of the Siwāliks.

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