South Asia

Organized Panel Session

2 - Imaging Geography in the Making of a Folk Cult in Rajasthan, India

Saturday, July 7
10:20 AM - 11:50 AM
Location: Maple, Lower Ground Floor

Pabu, a folk deity venerated in western Rajasthan, India, is believed to have lived during the 14th century and sacrificed his life protecting the cattle. The geographical area ‘Kolu’ in Phalodi where the cult of Pabu emerged and grew is in Jodhpur district of Rajasthan is a semi-arid region with sand dunes and precarious rainfall. I would be exploring two broad areas related to the cult which is shaped by the geography of the region.


The study of legends and personal correspondence with the followers suggests that camels were first brought by Pabu to Rajasthan from far off regions defeating powerful kings. What are these narrative of distant lands, do the various versions of legend talk about same land, is the imaging of regions borrowed from greater traditions, how does it help to make Pabu a folk deity? These are some questions which are explored.


Secondly, the paper deliberates on the social composition of the followers and the religious pattern of the cult that was again shaped by the geography of the region, where rearing cattle was an important occupation. Evidences suggest that the pastoral and nomadic community were the predominant followers of Pabu. Being on move with the cattle most of the year, how did they propitiate the deity, what were the function attributed to the cult, is this the reason that Pabu’s temple is a moving temple (Phar)? These are some aspects which would be looked at.

Rajshree Dhali

University of Delhi, India

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2 - Imaging Geography in the Making of a Folk Cult in Rajasthan, India



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