Experiential Shaping of Public Space during Pilgrimage: The Alandi-Pandharpur Palkhi
Experience of a public space is an integral part of our lives. The quality of this experience is shaped by the simultaneous co-existence of people, activities and their setting. Pilgrimage is one such activity which is central to the public realm. Essentially involving mass movement, the en-route architectural settings serve as support systems for its occurrence. In doing so, they give a character to the pilgrimage and in turn are activated. This mutual responsiveness of people and spaces forms the central theme of this book. Specifically, this research is based on my study of the Alandi-Pandharpur pilgrimage in India. It is an outcome of my participation in the ritual as an architect and a pilgrim. As against most of the field exclusive studies in architecture and anthropology, this book provides a unique approach articulating both these concerns through the common thread of human experience. In totality, it considers the broader role of public spaces and the significance of community rituals in the shaping of built environment. Though this book will interest architects, planners and anthropologists alike, it also provides an insight to anyone sensitive to their surroundings.