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The Kashmir Smast – a multi-religious centre in Gandhara

Harry Falk, Professor at Free University of Berlin

A spectacular natural cave in the first range of mountains of Gandhara appears suddenly as an India-wide pilgrimage centre in the times of the imperial Kushan kings. It attracts Zoroastrians, Vishnavites, Shivaites and Buddhists. A female deity Bhima can bestow riches, a large bathing pond makes it into the Mahabharata, and people donate statues and grants
for their “eternal” veneration. Money must have been donated in large sums as to this day coins are found from the times of the Kushans, to the Guptas, Huns and early Muslim times. Without protection it has been robbed and the constructions inside the cave are now destroyed. Only the artistic remains in metal testify to an amalgamation of local religious traits with others from southern India.

CONFERENCE at 6:00 pm

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