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Anthropological Study of People by Sax and Smith

Dynasties might simply note that they had good fortune because of the goddess, or the ruler might make a grant to the temple of Nandadevi. One ruler revived an ancient tradition whereby chieftains from across the Greater Himalaya were to send the goddess an annual tribute. Sax finds that a succession of leaders, bards, historians, and royal advisers have expressed the belief that the goddess was the key to authority over the land and the people.

Sax provides a detailed analysis of the Royal Pilgrimage, whereby the goddess makes the journey from one place to another. He finds that the precise origin of this ritual cannot be found with certainty and that several hypotheses have been advanced. The antiquity of the pilgrimage can be demonstrated by dating of the bones found by the side of the lake, showing only that pilgrims have been coming to the region for perhaps 800 years. There are actually a series of pilgrimages involved in the worship of Nandadevi, including the Small Pilgrimage, which helps unify places and people, and the annual pilgrimages, as well as the Royal Pilgrimage, described as the largest, longest, most costly, and most dangerous of all the pilgrimages.

Sax uses a structural-functionalist approach to the study of culture. He sees this culture as a unit and examines the behavior in terms of that unit. He is specifically interested in the religious behavior of the people and relates that behavior to their political and social existence as well, examining the function of ritual in the life of the community over time. He discerns the patterns of observance and the meaning of those patterns, tying together different eras through the functionalist interpretation of religious ritual. He attempts to discern and elucidate the functional relations in this community with the specific dimension of religious ritual and even more specifically with the act of the pilgrimage. The pilgrimage is a specific behavior th...

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Anthropological Study of People by Sax and Smith. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:03, August 20, 2017, from
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