(3,162 words)

As the rattletrap bus wheezed into Gangotri late on a June afternoon, several waiting men sidled up and asked the same question that they had asked previous arrivals: “Where are you from?” This is a common question throughout the world, but the questioners’ underlying purpose was business, not social. These men were paṇḍās, and each was seeking to connect with his pilgrim clients during their brief stay in this Himalayan pilgrim town. 

Paṇḍās (hereditary pilgrim …

Cite this page
James Lochtefeld, “Paṇḍās”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Edited by: Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 21 February 2019 <>
First published online: 2012

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