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God's GatewayIdentity and Meaning in a Hindu Pilgrimage Place$
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James Lochtefeld

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195386141

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195386141.001.0001

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Hardwar in Sanskrit Sources

Hardwar in Sanskrit Sources

Chapter:
(p.21) 2 Hardwar in Sanskrit Sources
Source:
God's Gateway
Author(s):

James G. Lochtefeld (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195386141.003.0002

This chapter examines Hardwar’s sacred history as presented in various Sanskrit texts. Two Hindu myths are closely identified with Hardwar—the Descent of the Ganges and Shiva’s Destruction of Daksha’s Sacrifice—and both stories are in many of the puranas (ancient compendia of sacred lore), as well as the Epic Ramayana. These sources give only sketchy references to Hardwar itself and focus more on ritual actions (bathing and almsgiving) and asceticism. More detailed descriptions are found in the mahatmyas (“Greatness”), a textual genre written to praise the holiness of some place or thing. A few puranas contain brief Hardwar mahatmyas, but the greatest detail is found in handwritten manuscript mayatmya traditions—the Mayapurimahatmya (early 1800s) and the Haridwaramahatmya (early 1600s). These previously untranslated texts describe Hardwar’s mythology and religious importance and provide an intriguing glimpse of the city at that time.

Keywords:   Ganges, Haridwaramahatmya, Hardwar, Hindu myths, mahatmya, Mayapurimahatmya, Daksha, purana, Sanskrit

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