Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Temple of Imra, Temple of Mahandeu: a Kafir sanctuary in Kalasha cosmology1

Abstract

This article examines the mythical significance of the famous Afghan Kafir ‘Temple of Imra’ described in Robertson's Káfirs of the Hindu-Kush (1896: 389–92) within the cosmology of the Kalasha (‘Kalash Kafirs’) of Chitral in northern Pakistan. It is known as the ‘Temple of Mahandeu’ in Kalasha tradition, and stories about this sanctuary play an important role in the exegesis of all Kalasha rites. It is, indeed, a focal symbol of Kalasha cosmology: the site of an axis mundi linking heaven and earth with the underworld of the deceased, and the primordial domain of major deities. After examining narratives about this temple, I shall discuss several problems in the comparative religions of the Hindu Kush that such traditions help to elucidate. In recognition of the pioneering scholarship on this subject by Wolfgang Lentz (1974) and Lennart Edelberg (et al., 1959), I present here some Kalasha perspectives on an extraordinary Kafir sanctuary (cf. Jettmar, 1986: 50–51). But in discussing its significance in Kalasha cosmology, I also address broader questions about our present conception of religious knowledge in the Hindu Kush, particularly on the comparative ‘mythology’ of the Afghan Kafirs and of their Dardicspeaking neighbours in northern Pakistan

Copyright
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

W. Bascom . 1965. ‘The forms of folklore: prose narratives’, Journal of American Folklore, 77: 320.

R. Brunton . 1980. ‘Misconstrued order in Melanesian religion’, Man (N.S.), 15: 112–28.

P. Cohen . 1969. Theories of myth, Man (N.S.), 4: 337–53.

J. C Irwin . 1982. ‘The sacred anthill and the cult of the primordial mound’, History of Religions, 21: 339–60.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
  • ISSN: 0041-977X
  • EISSN: 1474-0699
  • URL: /core/journals/bulletin-of-the-school-of-oriental-and-african-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 4 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 109 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.