Vivek Raj (Banaras Hindu University)

Notion of Sacred Space and the Pandemic

This paper explores how the Covid-19 pandemic has challenged the notion of sacred space in the context of twin cities – Gaya and Bodhgaya. Gaya is the holiest place for the performance of śrāddha yajña. Bodhgaya is the place where Buddha attained enlightenment. Every year hundreds of thousands of pilgrims come here for pilgrimage. But due to various restrictions during the pandemic, they could not come. Amid this unexpected situation, facilities like Online Pind daan, Cyber Sangha, etc. got highlighted. Acceptance of these digital platforms among people made us think about the notion of the sacredness of physical spaces.