Pilgrimage to Gosainkund
- Ca. 1775
- Pigment on cotton
- H. 33 x W. 171 1/2 in. (83.8 x 435.6 cm)
- Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Stella Kramrisch Fund, 2000-7-3
This impressive painting follows male and female pilgrims of a variety of different ethnic groups—Newar, Tibetan, Gurung, Tamang, and Indian—as they travel along pilgrimage routes, passing through cities and towns, including Bungamati, Patan, and Kathmandu. Numerous landmarks plot the journey, making this schematic representation a surrogate for physical pilgrimage, an advertisement for Gosainkund, or a piece of memorabilia. Elements of Hinduism and Buddhism are intertwined in the religious practice and religious imagery of the Newar ethnic group of Nepal. Nepalis consider Gosainkund Lake one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites to both Hindus and Buddhists. Nearly 15,000 feet above sea level, the lake is famed for its icy waters, into which the Hindu god Shiva is said to have jumped to soothe himself after swallowing poison during the churning of the ocean. For Newar and Tibetan Buddhists, the deity, who appears reclining in the lake, is believed to be a manifestation of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.