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Shrine Traditions of Wakhan Afghanistan

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Abstract This study, based on field work from 2004 to 2010, describes the religious, social and historical context of shrines in Wakhan District of Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan. Scholarly analysis of the significance of the shrines is balanced with the perspective of the people of Wakhan for whom the shrine traditions are part of a living landscape. Translated excerpts from interviews conducted in the Wakhi language at the shrines bring the Wakhi voice to the study, which focuses on one shrine (the shrine of the miracle of Nāser Khosrow in Yimit village) as an exemplar of shrine traditions. The study draws comparisons between documented shrine traditions in adjacent Wakhan Tajikistan and in Hunza-Gojal of Pakistan, locates the traditions within Pamir Ismaʿilism, and suggests outlines of a broader Pamir interpretive community.

Affiliations: 1: University of California Santa Cruz (retired)


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