Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online

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(3,134 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 guides; se…

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Lochtefeld, James, “Paṇḍās”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, Editor-in-Chief Associate Editors Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 19 October 2021 <>
First published online: 2018

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