Circumambulations and Integration of Space
Case Studies from Bhaktapur (Nepal), Muktinath (Nepal) and Varanasi (India)

Niels Gutschow

( ) Circumambulations identify an "inner" space along a line that ideally follows a circle. The Mandalic scheme, however, is modified to cope with topography and history. Beyond the "inside" exists and "outer" space, which on a different level might be the "inside" of another entity. The case of Varanasi reveals such circumambulatory routes that encase each other in order to incorporatee an ever increasing space. The case of Muktinath presents a different model. There, the six villages of the valley are circumambulated individually, while on rare occasions all six villages are circumambulated in order to reconfirm a political entity.

( ) Circumambulations must not necessarily lead around a spatial entity. Symbolic representations of that entity might represent "place" in a way that a processions offers the opportunity to worship these representaions along a continous route. IN the case of Bhaktapur all representations of "place" are worshipped on the occasion of New Year: the emergence of the vital "infrastructure" serves as a proof of identity and continuity.

( ) For the first time, a comparison of material will be presented that results from field work undertaken in South Asia over the past 25 years.

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