In the Hindu pilgrimage tradition tirtha yatra and parikrama are interlinked
concepts. Tirtha yatra refers to undertaking a pilgrimage to sacred places whereas
parikrama (or pradakshina) means circling the sacred object. In geographic
literature, pilgrim ciculation has been used to describe pilgrimage flows, but circumambulation has been given
little attention, since it has been subsumed as a purely ritual activity in the general process of pilgrimage.
Circumambulation however has a deepre meaning in the religious space, connecting the pilgrim to the cosmos.
This paper first briefly examings the meaning of circulation in the disciplinary context of geogrphy, and its
application in the pilgrimage literature. It then briefly states the significance of circumambulation and the
close relationship between circulation and circumambulation. Tentatively, this paper interprets the
cosmological meaning of these two components of pilgrimage in light of the principle of self-organiztion of the
chaos theory (Gleick, 1987), which McKim Malville has introduced to the study of Hindu pilgrimage (Malville,
Surinder M. Bhardwaj
Kent State University
Kent, OH 44242-0001