Environment as a sacred space

Religious and spiritual tourism and environmental concerns in Hinduism

Authored by: Rana P.B. Singh , Pravin S. Rana , Daniel H. Olsen

The Routledge Handbook of Religious and Spiritual Tourism

Print publication date:  July  2021
Online publication date:  July  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367191955
eBook ISBN: 9780429201011
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



People form a sense of themselves and their environmental surroundings at a variety of scales (spatialities), time frames (sequentialities), functions (activities), mobilities (e.g., pilgrimages), quests (sacrality), and mental states (belief systems) (Singh & Rana 2020a: 137). It is at the local scale that people first experience the spirit and power of places (genius loci) and from there proceed to experience this spirit and power at larger scales (Singh & Rana 2020b: 97). The idea of sacred space is a universal theme in both sacred and secular settings. This chapter focuses on the interface between the natural environment and sacrality in the context of Hinduism, which has a long history of creating cosmic landscapes and places (Baindur 2009). After discussing how the natural environment is tied to Hindu theology and cosmology, attention is turned to different pilgrimage traditions (tīrtha-yātrā) in India that lead to spiritual and religious advancement, followed by a broader discussion of the environmental issues in Hindu pilgrimage traditions and how pilgrimages can lead to better human–nature relationships and greener pilgrimage practices (see also Chapter 9, this volume).

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.