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INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF TOURISM RESEARCH Int. J. Tourism Res.

12, 523535 (2010) Published online 28 January 2010 in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com) DOI: 10.1002/jtr.771

Entrepreneurship and Indigenous Enterpreneurs in Religious Tourism in India


Kiran A. Shinde Geography and Planning, School of Behavioural, Cognitive & Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia ABSTRACT This paper demonstrates how indigenous religious entrepreneurs drive religious tourism in a non-western context. Building on the case study of Vrindavan, an emerging religious tourism destination in India, it explains religious tourism as a natural progression of traditional pilgrimage economy, where entrepreneurship springs from socio-cultural and ritual exchanges and knowledge of religious protocols and procedures between indigenous religious functionaries and visitors. Using religious hegemony, social status and networks, religious entrepreneurs innovate, develop new products and expand the cultural economy of rituals and performances to suit the demands of the burgeoning tourism. The tendency to consider such entrepreneurship as informal not only exempts them from most regulations and legal responsibilities but also undermines their contribution in maintaining the religious the most important resource in religious tourism. Copyright 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Received 5 June 2009; Revised 13 December 2009; Accepted 5 January 2010

INTRODUCTION

Keywords: religious entrepreneurs; entrepreneurship; religious tourism; pilgrimage; India; Vrindavan.


*Correspondence to: Dr. K. A. Shinde, Geography and Planning, School of Behavioural, Cognitive & Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales 2351, Australia. E-mail: kshinde@une.edu.au

eligious tourism is a term widely used in theory and practice to refer to contemporary travel patterns to pilgrimage sites. Religious tourism is considered to be a specic type of tourism whose participants are motivated either in part or exclusively for religious reasons (Rinschede, 1992, p. 52) in such a way that it is closely or loosely connected with holiday-making (Tomasi, 2002, p. 19). The destination for religious tourism is generally a sacred site, a pilgrimage site or a religious heritage site. It combines two opposite ends of the binary sacred and profane as reected in the pilgrimagetourism dichotomy (Nolan and Nolan, 1992; Smith, 1992). Often, the key aspects of pilgrimage the motivation for the trip, form of the journey and a sacred destination are used to explain religious tourism where leisure and holiday activities occur as supplementary opportunities within the need for religious travel (Tyrakowski, 1994). There is also a tendency to use external aspects such as tour operations, management and packaging of leisure-related activities, alongside pilgrimage, to claim religious tourism as a part of the tourism industry (Tomasi, 2002; Sharpley and Sundaram, 2005). However, most scholars concur that religious tourism is multilayered and involves multi-functional and multi-purpose trips (Kaur, 1985; Nolan and Nolan, 1992). It simultaneously is a niche market as well as one of the largest contributors to tourist ows. A majority of the literature on religious tourism have originated from European countries (Nolan and Nolan, 1992; Rinschede, 1992; Bywater, 1994). The focus in these studies
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524 range from problems with the denition of the term and its theoretical conceptualisation to empirical evidence from religious tourism destinations. Olsen and Timothy (2006, p. 6) identify four broad themes in this literature: distinguishing the pilgrim from the tourist (touristpilgrim dichotomy); the characteristics and travel patterns of religious tourists; the economics of religious tourism; and the negative impacts of tourism on religious sites and ceremonies. While the economic aspects of religious tourism have generated substantial interest, it continues to be under-researched (Timothy and Olsen, 2006). A few studies have examined the economic importance of religious tourism, the size of this niche market, key market players and its role in revitalising sites for religious tourism. Bywater (1994) observes that religious travel in Europe is a specialised market largely outside the domain of mainstream travel agencies/tour operators. It is marked by a high domestic presence with little inuence of seasonality and is catered to by specialist suppliers through religious authorities and their qualied tour guides. Religious travel also overlaps with cultural tourism and heritage tourism. For example, half of Romes annual visitors t into either the category of religious tourist or religious heritage tourist (Bywater, 1994). While the multi-purpose nature of religious tourism poses several challenges for the management of sacred sites, it also opens numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs. Yet the extent and forms of entrepreneurship in religious tourism remain an area of oversight. Such neglect is surprising considering that religious tourism is an activity closely related to and nested within specic religious, cultural and social contexts. This is even more problematic in the non-western world where the term religious tourism has become commonplace but resonates only in parts with the ways religious tourism operates in the western world. The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, I demonstrate how an analysis of entrepreneurship can help in better understanding the phenomenon of religious tourism generally. In doing so, I move beyond conventional approaches that tend to limit religious tourism within a system of binaries and explore the wide canvass that religious tourism occupies. I
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K. A. Shinde explain entrepreneurship as a unifying concept that ties together various aspects of pilgrimage and tourism into religious tourism. Second, I attempt to address the paucity of literature on entrepreneurship in religious tourism in a nonwestern context, particularly in India, where the term has gained wide currency. By focusing on the analysis of entrepreneurship, I want to forward a nuanced appreciation and understanding of the differences between religious tourism in the western and non-western world. Entrepreneurship, although dened in economic terms, is also an arena dominated by cultural factors (Dahles, 1999). These factors may be associated with religious rituals and religious practitioners embedded in particular social, cultural and religious contexts. Gaining an understanding of entrepreneurs and their activities has important implications for policy-making, sectorally and nationally (Shaw and Shaw, 1999), because entrepreneurs direct market trends in religious tourism. This paper is organised in ve sections. In the rst section, I examine the concept of entrepreneurship and its relevance in religious tourism. The second section is a broad overview of religious tourism in India. In the third section, I describe how these broader patterns are reected in the religious tourism destination of Vrindavan. The emergence of new forms of entrepreneurship in Vrindavan is the topic of discussion in the fourth section. The concluding section demonstrates how entrepreneurship offers new insights in understanding religious tourism. ENTREPRENEURSHIP As a generic concept, entrepreneurship is the act of directing resources (nancial and physical) in new ways for the generation of prot (Minniti, 2007). The seminal work of Schumpter (1936) has shown that entrepreneurs carry out new economic combinations by introducing new products and new product functions, opening new markets, and by reorganising an industry (cited in Neblett and Green, 2000). This explanation originating in economics has subsequently been expanded to include psychological factors as well. Scholars also consider the initiative to work for oneself and behavioural attitudes as essential
Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 523535 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr

Entrepreneurship in Religious Tourism, India characteristics of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is a combination of creativity and/or innovation, uncertainties/risk taking, managerial and business capabilities, and requires entrepreneurs to possess particular motivation and behavioural characteristics (Bull and Willard, 1995; Russell and Faulkner, 2004). Bull and Willard (1995) point out that entrepreneurship generally results from the following conditions task-related motivation, expertise, expectation of gain for self and a supportive environment. A few scholars have found that socio-economic context provides enough reasons for the development of entrepreneurial traits and includes factors such as genetic inheritance, religious values, personality needs, geographical climate, status of group in community and family structure (Ryan, 1992). A useful way to begin exploring entrepreneurship in religious tourism is by temporarily separating the composite of religious tourism into two parts; religion and tourism. Some scholars consider religion to be a sacred market comprising numerous suppliers and buyers of religious and spiritual experience (Jelen, 2002). Such abstraction is relatively easy to understand in religious tourism. Religion provides resources (both material and metaphysical) including physical artefacts such as temples, churches and cathedrals, rituals, festivals and events for the activity of religious tourism (Nolan and Nolan, 1992; Singh, 2004). More than 75% of the economy in pilgrimage sites revolve around these resources (Vukonic, 1996). In this cultural economy, the key players are the religious functionaries and preceptors (individuals and institutions) who mediate the experience and exchange between visitors and the sacred or religious objects (Shackley, 2001). Corporate religious bodies exercise exclusive control and management of religious structures within their premises, which also act as destinations for religious tourism. The priorities of these clerical bodies include the encouragement of worship, missionary activities, education, and the offering of hospitality to their followers and management of pilgrimage. Operating through a rigid clerical hierarchy, their management is often dogmatic, and authoritarian with religious leaders issuing orders and directions that are to be obeyed,
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525 rather than debated (Shackley, 2001, p. 90). Increasing numbers of corporate religious bodies from various religious faiths (including Muslim, Christian and Buddhist) engage in promoting cultural and heritage tourism in their pilgrimage sites as they provide opportunities for the mission and to generate revenue for maintenance of their establishments (Nolan and Nolan, 1992; Shackley, 2001; Timothy and Olsen, 2006). Most of these models of management have been built on traditionally established patterns of pilgrimage performances and patronage relationships. Religious bodies are found to be complacent with routine management and organisation because they understand that visitor numbers are less likely to decrease anytime. On the contrary, they face enormous challenges in dealing with increasing numbers of religious tourists (Shackley, 2001). However, the ourishing of religious theme parks does signify advancement of entrepreneurship in religious tourism (Shoval, 2000). From an industry perspective, it is easy to identify entrepreneurship in tourism-related activities. According to Gee et al. (1989, p. 5), tourism comprises three major components: direct suppliers (sectors which are visible to the tourist, e.g. hotels, travel agents, restaurants, airlines and retailers), support services (which supply support to the direct suppliers, e.g. tour organisers, tourism research units, tourism and trade publications, food services and launderettes) and development organisations (which mainly handle tourism development and include government agents, nancial institutions, estate developers and training centres). There is some discussion of entrepreneurship within these components (Soeld, 1993; Hitchcock, 2000; Wanhill, 2000; Russell and Faulkner, 2004). However, such explanations can at best be one-sided as these components involve entrepreneurs from the formal sector. Formal sector agencies are recognised, registered and considered to be legitimate contributors to the industry and therefore able to access all the support necessary for their operations and development (Timothy and Wall, 1997). But the dualism of the tourism economy is well known as a plethora of services is provided by the informal sector (may be with the exception of highly regulated activities such as air-travel)
Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 523535 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr

526 (Hampton, 1998; Li, 2008). Yet contribution and entrepreneurship of the informal sector agencies are seldom accounted for as they are not registered and therefore not considered legitimate (Timothy and Wall, 1997; Shaw and Shaw, 1999; Neblett and Green, 2000). The problem of informality extends to religious tourism and is compounded in the nonwestern world where the tendency is to categorise religious tourism as an informal sector domestic tourism (Gladstone, 2005). Another challenge in identifying, measuring and articulating entrepreneurship in religious tourism is because of the unchanging canons of religious rituals and restrictions that work against modication and innovation. But it is known that religious tourism is increasing and as I show later, religious actors constitute one of the forces driving it. Religious actors may not be registered in a formal sense but are a part of a social and religious hierarchy that maintains the pilgrimage economy in pilgrimage sites. By denition, their activities lie within the ambit of the informal sector. In order to account for their contribution and better appreciation of their role in religious tourism, I suggest that they are referred to as indigenous entrepreneurs. Hailey suggests that, Indigenous entrepreneur is an indigen person who shows practical creativity and managerial ability in effectively combining resources and opportunities in an effort to provide produce, goods and services appropriate to the needs of the local community, and at the same time generating sufcient income to help themselves, their family and the community in general. (Hailey, 1992, p. 7) I expand on these ideas about entrepreneurship in relation to religious tourism in India. THE INDIAN CONTEXT In India since the 1970s, there has been a period of religious creativity marked by the expansion of Indian religious movements to the west and the emergence of Hindu religious movements that revolve around solving the stresses and strains of contemporary life for middle and upper-class Indians (Madan,
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K. A. Shinde 2004, p. 265). The new climate of uncertainty and alienation, search for self-identity, sense of fullment and spiritual striving by the welloff urban middle-class is reected in the rise of religious renewal and the growing numbers of charismatic gurus who provide a religion of choice for satisfying the spiritual needs of this class (Warrier, 2004, p. 14). New technologies of mass communication have also fuelled the new religiosity of the Hindu middle classes and the business of religious devotion. Television, print media and the Internet have helped revive some traditional practices and transformed others, including virtual temples, virtual pilgrimage rituals and virtual blessings (Rinehart, 2004). These new trends in religiosity have played a signicant role in transforming the nature of pilgrimage travel and the emergence of religious tourism in India. The Domestic Tourism Survey, conducted in 20022003 by the Indian governments Ministry of Tourism, indicates that travel for religious purpose and pilgrimage formed the most signicant component in domestic tourism, with more than 100 million people travelling to various religious events, temples and pilgrimage sites.1 According to the survey, short-term trips by middle- and upper-income groups now contribute a substantial share of travel to sacred sites; nearly 50% of package tours and almost 20% of one-day trips are for religious and pilgrimage purposes (NCAER, 2003, p. 33). The increased volume of religious travel has been accompanied by qualitative changes in terms of visitors and the organisation of the tourism industry (Kaur, 1985). The foray of Thomas Cook, the international tour company, into the domestic pilgrim travel market of India with the promise of three-star comforts for its clients, offering of insurance policies for pilgrims, coming of hotel chains in holy cities, indicate new developments in the pilgrimage industry and reect a higher degree
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The National Council of Applied Economic Research for the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Government of India conducted the Domestic Tourism Survey in 20022003. It surveyed 800 000 households across the country in December 2002. The main objectives of the survey were to estimate the total number of domestic tourists by different purposes of travel and to estimate the total magnitude and patterns of tourist expenditures. Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 523535 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr

Entrepreneurship in Religious Tourism, India of consumerism and hedonistic behaviour that is typical of tourists (Shinde, 2008a). Hundreds of tour operators, through numerous websites, offer comfortable and often luxurious package deals for pilgrimage tours to some of the most popular pilgrimage circuits in India, with catchlines such as deluxe moksha [salvation] and instant nirvana. The new patterns of travel by upscale clientele, including young professionals, rich non-resident Indians and foreigners reect the increasing use of hotels and resorts and services offered by tourism enterprises. With new demands, new suppliers have also surfaced. Following Nolan and Nolan (1992), at least three different yet related submarket segments can be identied in religious tourism: cultural tourism, spiritual tourism and religious travel. Using psychological and organisational parameters (Tomasi, 2002) can explain the differences and similarities between these (Reader, 2007), but one aspect that clearly distinguishes them is entrepreneurship. Cultural tourism revolves around the cultural experience that people want to derive from visiting a religious site, festivals or religious performances. Many government tourism agencies and private tour operators engage in the packaging of tours around pilgrimage circuits and the promotion of festivals and special events as cultural products. These activities exhibit entrepreneurial acumen but are of spectator value rather than a performance of religious practice (Jaitly, 2001). The difference between spiritual tourism and religious travel is apparent. A spiritual quest and volunteering for self-development are essential in spiritual tourism. In this segment, often formal agencies such as institutions (ashrams) of charismatic gurus and specialised tour operators cater to the international and upmarket clientele by offering products such as yoga journeys and spiritual healing (Reader, 2007).2 The proliferation of hundreds
Even within this segment, Sharpley and Sundaram (2005) found three categories of ashram-tourists: spiritual seekers, tourist trail followers (to architecturally and culturally signicant sites) and yoga/meditation practitioners. Conrming that such travel is to escape to the other, they conclude that participants in such activities often come back stronger and are satised with the fullment of their spiritual quest. Copyright 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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527 of self-proclaimed and charismatic gurus illustrates the entrepreneurial role they play in driving this market (Rinehart, 2004). Religious travel comprises all kinds of travel undertaken for performing rituals required as a part of organised religion (Singh, 2004). This segment of living and active religious practices, mainly of domestic travellers, is by far the largest component in religious tourism (Gupta, 1999). It operates around the cultural economy of religious practices, rituals and rites of passage, along with the activities of religious practitioners such as gurus and temple priests in pilgrimage sites. The entrepreneurship of these religious actors is the focus of this study. THE STUDY The discussion of entrepreneurship in this paper is one part of a larger study that investigated environmental issues associated with religious tourism in the north Indian pilgrimage site of Vrindavan in the state of Uttar Pradesh. A majority of the 5500 odd temples in Vrindavan are dedicated to Krishna. Adjacent to Vrindavan is its twin city Mathura, the birthplace of Krishna. Both these places form the centre of a pilgrimage landscape known as Braj, which includes numerous sacred sites associated with the Krishna mythology. This pilgrimage landscape was founded by the Vaishnava saints in the fteenth and sixteenth centuries (Entwistle, 1987). By virtue of its location within the Golden Triangle for Tourism in north India (that includes Delhi, Agra and Jaipur as its major destinations),3 and its heritage of temples, Vrindavan has also emerged as a destination for religious and cultural tourism. The number of visitors in Vrindavan has signicantly increased since the 1970s when a grand temple was built by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) or the Hare Krishna Movement as it is popularly known. This religious movement mainly
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Agra (50 km south-east) served as the capital of the Mughal Empire and houses the famous Taj Mahal; Delhi (150 km north) is the present national capital and Jaipur (about 200 km in the south-west) is the capital of Rajasthan, the state of fort-palaces. Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 523535 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr

528 comprises devotees from North America and Europe and its unique western appeal drove international and domestic visitors to Vrindavan (Brooks, 1992). The twin cities of Mathura-Vrindavan were ranked as the sixth popular destination in terms of tourist ows in the 2002 Domestic Tourism Survey of India (NCAER, 2003). A recent study estimates more than 6 million visitors in Vrindavan annually (Shinde, 2008b). Methodology Fieldwork for this study was conducted in Vrindavan between February 2005 and May 2005. The methods included in-depth interviews and surveys, the observance of public behaviour, and participation in various festivals, events, rituals and ceremonies. The common themes covered in the interview included views on pilgrimage, visitors, rituals, contemporary trends and environmental change. In total, 92 participants across the following major groups were interviewed. These included 25 religious entrepreneurs including religious gurus, priests and managers of temples and ashrams; 35 local residents including scholars, shopkeepers, tour operators, teachers, community leaders and representatives from traders associations; eight ofcials from government agencies related to the pilgrimage environment of Vrindavan; four representatives from non-government organisations and 20 visitors. In addition, 45 questionnaires were administered at three of the most popular temples in Vrindavan to understand the travel patterns of visitors. In order to understand entrepreneurship, it is necessary to rst examine the relation between religious performances and performers that constitutes the cultural economy. Religious activities in Vrindavan Visitors arrive throughout the year in Vrindavan, their numbers peaking during the spring and monsoon seasons of the Hindu ritual calendar and ebbing during winter (Brooks, 1992). The different rhythms of the religious calendar and the rituals, festivals and events surrounding the worship of Krishna serve as a kind of overarching framework for the pilgrimage
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K. A. Shinde economy of Vrindavan. Alongside daily, weekly, seasonal and annual activities and ritual services in the temples, the pilgrimage economy is also centred on other religious cultural performances such as katha, raslila, bhandara and mela (fairs). In katha performances, professional storytellers describe the exemplary morality and ethical behaviour of renowned Krishna devotees and Vaishnava saints, and the rewards bestowed by Krishna in response to acts of unconditional love and devotion. Raslila is a form of folk theatre involving performances of song, dance and dramatic vignettes from Krishnas life in the Braj region. These performances are accompanied by bhandaras (or ceremonial feasts) and rely on sponsorships and donations from devotees and visitors (Entwistle, 1987). The annual Braj-yatra is an important feature of the pilgrimage calendar. The yatra (journey) involves circumambulation of all the sites considered sacred to or commemorative of Krishnas life in the Braj region (covering an area of about of 2500 km2 with a perimeter of 300 km) and begins during the monsoon season. The itinerary and routes taken to complete this journey differ among Vaishnava sects.4 The original route focused on 133 sites including forests, lakes, ponds, kunds (embanked waterbodies) and shrines, but most contemporary versions of the Braj circuit involve visits to 73 sacred places including 12 main forests and 36 kunds (Entwistle, 1987). The crucial factor underpinning the pilgrimage economy is, however, the social networks and ritual exchanges established between different social actors and visitors and the extent to which their patronage relationships keep the everyday routines and commerce going in the temples and ashrams of Vrindavan. Social actors and relationships in the pilgrimage economy The pilgrimage economy relies on the mutual relationships established between four sets of
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Some sects retrace the path taken by their founders in the sixteenth century, and complete the circumambulation in 15 days while others perform it over a period of six to seven weeks with over 10 000 pilgrims, several hundred priests, who perform various ritual services for pilgrims at sacred sites, and the leading gures of the sect. Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 523535 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr

Entrepreneurship in Religious Tourism, India actors; these are leaders of religious sects, ritual priests, auxiliary service providers and devotees. These relationships, traditionally referred to as jajmani, are of three kinds: those between religious leaders and their followers (mainly visitors), religious leaders and ritual priests, and between ritual priests and visitors. The traditional religious leaders in Vrindavan are known as goswamis. As per the tradition, the term goswami denotes an authoritative religious teacher, one who, in theory at least, is descended from one of the original disciples of Chaitanya [a Vaishnava guru from the 15th century who played a leading role in establishment of Vrindavan] (Kennedy, 1925, p. 26). Goswami families that have inherited the custodianship of the older and more prestigious temples constitute the elite religious class. Members of these families serve as hereditary temple priests and as the spiritual leaders or gurus for the followers of their sects and help pilgrims achieve the spiritual link with their deity. In doing so, they cultivate a strong relationship of loyalty and continuity with followers of the sect. The leading goswamis of sects spend most of their time either receiving disciples at their temples or going on tour to different cities and towns to visit their followers. During these encounters, both within their temples and outside Vrindavan, the goswamis provide spiritual counsel, meet potential followers and perform kathas for a wider audience gathered through the efforts of their disciples. These relationships ensure the loyalty and nancial support for maintaining their temples and everyday rituals, the prestige of the guru, the activities of the sect and the business of pilgrimage. The second jajmani relationship is between ritual priests, colloquially known as pandas, and visitors where they offer their services as guides to visitors and perform various rituals in exchange for a fee or donation. The pandas attempt to consolidate their relationship with visitors by maintaining registers and ledgers that record the genealogy of visitors to whom they or their ancestors have provided ritual services. Most pandas operate loosely on a free for all basis and are often regarded as being unscrupulous, money-grabbing and ignorant (Entwistle, 1987, pp. 67). Pandas often nd creative ways of convincing pilgrims
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529 and visitors to part with their money (Weller, 1997). There are numerous stories of the ingenious ways in which pandas earn their living in Vrindavan. They establish relationships with priests of shrines that are not controlled by goswamis and arrange to receive a commission for each visitor they bring to the temple (Hawley and Goswami, 1981; Entwistle, 1987). Other stories of the canny strategies of pandas include setting up spurious sites and claiming their mythical association with various Krishna legends. Entwistle notes that two temples along the Yamuna River are promoted as the exact sites where Krishna is said to have killed the serpent Kaliya, but the new temple is more accessible to visitors than the older one situated further upstream. When Entwistle questioned the story of the new shrine and pointed out the existence of the older temple, the panda remarked, No Problem . . . we can make a third one if we want! (1987, p. 276). Besides the traditional social networks, increasingly new actors are contributing to the growth of the pilgrimage economy. Following the directions set out in the National Tourism Policy regarding the promotion of pilgrimage sites for cultural tourism and heritage tourism, the Uttar Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation has identied the Braj regions festivals and sites as prime cultural tourism products for the state. The corporation has two main objectives. The rst is to promote pilgrimage sites as tourism destinations and the second is to work with the travel industry and private tourism operators to create tourism circuits and encourage them to provide comprehensive package tours that include transport, accommodation and visits to cultural performances and events in these circuits (U.P. Tourism, 2006). The most striking difference produced from the transformation of the pilgrimage (purely religious) economy to a religioustourist economy is the larger volume of visitor ows with changing expectations and demands. A survey of visitors arriving at major temple sites helped to understand these changes. The short questionnaire included questions regarding the frequency of trips made by the visitors, the mode of transport used for visiting Vrindavan, the itinerary, the duration of their stay, purpose
Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 523535 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr

530 of visits and the rituals performed during the visit. The data from the visitor survey (45 responses) revealed that about 80% of respondents were regular visitors to Vrindavan. A third of the regular visitors came at least once or twice each year; one respondent visited every month. The remaining 20% of respondents had visited Vrindavan for the very rst time. The main mode of transport was by car or van, self-owned and driven (60%), or hired through regional taxi services (20%). Less than 20% travelled by public transport, i.e., trains or state-run regional bus services. The duration of stay ranged between one and three days: 25% were on a day trip; 50% stayed overnight and returned home the following day; and the remaining 25% stayed for two nights before travelling to other places in the region. Of the 11 respondents that stayed in Vrindavan, only ve chose to board in the ashrams of their gurus or in the lodgings built by their religious or caste associations. The travel patterns obtained from the survey correspond with those carried out by the MVDA in 1997, which found that the average duration of stay for visitors to Vrindavan was 1.35 days (MVDA, 1998). The main motive for travelling to Vrindavan continues to be centred on devotional worship or Krishna darsan at different temples. About 20% attended the ceremonial prayers performed at temples during different times of the day; 50% of those visiting the temple neither wait to attend the ritual arati performance, nor intend to perform any specic pilgrimage associated rituals. Less than 10% of the respondents had performed the customary circumambulation of Vrindavan. Only 5 out of the 45 respondents in the survey indicated that they had relied on the services of pandas or local guides during their trip. The day and weekend visitors offered two reasons for coming to Vrindavan, the rst being that Krishna is an important wish-fulling god and that it was worth the effort to visit the temples where the Krishna deities were well known for their power to full wishes. The second reason was that Vrindavan is a convenient and easily accessible destination for visitors from Delhi, Jaipur and Agra, and serves as a weekend getaway for religious and
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K. A. Shinde leisure activities. Less than 10% of the respondents visited ve or more temples during their day or weekend trip. The average time spent by respondents in each temple was between 45 minutes to an hour. The survey of visitors at the entrance of major temples does not reect the entire range of trips to Vrindavan. Many of the pandas that were interviewed said that many day and weekend trips made by people from Delhi, Jaipur and Agra involve customary visits to their family goswamis or gurus, initiation ceremonies for family members or sponsoring large ritual feasts to honour pledges made to particular deities or for other important events in the religious calendar. The ndings from the survey reect the multi-purpose nature of trips that full religious, cultural and recreational needs for visitors and in many ways conrm the observations of the domestic tourism survey mentioned earlier. The combination of day and weekend visitors and package tourists through the year has transformed the economic environment of Vrindavan. These changing patterns and the new environment for religious tourism has forced many of the traditional actors and service providers in Vrindavan to modify their roles in order to either retain their presence in the industry or to increase prots from the ows of visitors to the town. Emerging trends of entrepreneurship New patterns of entrepreneurship are evident from the ways in which religious actors engage with the new trends of religious tourism. The goswamis of leading Vaishnava sects, as well as some independent god men, have responded to the new trends by transforming themselves into religious entrepreneurs and operate their temples and ashrams as religious enterprises. These transformations are most visible in performances such as katha, Braj yatra and festival celebrations. The signicant nancial rewards offered by the business of katha performance have led to the proliferation of performers (Lutgendorf, 1989) and many of them use new communication technologies to promote their business. Those that previously relied on relationships with established temples and goswamis for their livelihood are now able to operate independently because of the
Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 523535 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr

Entrepreneurship in Religious Tourism, India growing patronage of urban sponsors and organisers of package tours. Rather than relying on donations from the audience, these performances are organised through set fees (Lutgendorf, 1989). Performers have begun to modify frequency, geographic spread and the format of the katha presentation. The annual calendars of popular katha performers (who also claim to be spiritual gurus) appear to be globetrotting itineraries catering to domestic demands as well as to the Indian diaspora. Consider the following itinerary of a famous performer from Vrindavan, which consists of a month-long tour of Indian cities including Jalandhar, Delhi, Jaipur, and then a two-month long tour of UK, Switzerland, Italy and Belgium. This tour is followed by another round of domestic destinations such as Govardhan, Kolkatta, Jaipur, Mumbai and Ludhiana before heading to Kenya for a fortnight of katha performance (Goswami, 2008). Such detailed and exotic itineraries may be exceptional for average performers but are indicative of the trends and potential of the market. Closer to home, katha performers have adapted similar strategies of marketing and self-promotion through social networks, advertisements in newspapers, billboards and local TV channels. Several religious gurus own websites that provide downloadable lectures, devotional songs and Krishna stories. Others sell devotional song albums and videos and one offers a virtual circumambulation of Vrindavan through the website.5 Several goswamis and gurus have created a new market for exclusive and comfortable Braj-yatra that cater primarily to their wealthy Indian patrons and foreign devotees (Brooks, 1992). Findings from the yatra performed by the author point to the emerging trends in organisation of Braj-yatra. The main organiser,
5 A music company established by a katha performer claims to own 3,500 titles of which a minimum of 10 have been 10 million sellers, and over 15 have grossed more than 5 millions in sales and another 20 have bagged sales of about a million (http://www.mridulvrindavan. com). According to this performer the inspiration to do so has come from a divine dream in which he was summoned and directed by Krishna to make the katha accessible to people who are unable to attend his performances. Similar entrepreneurial ventures can be found at the following websites: http://www.gauranga. org; http://www.vrindavan.com; http://www.mvtindia. com/parikrama.htm.

531 claiming an illustrious Goswami lineage and referred to by the honoric title, Maharaj-ji, announced the yatra during one of his religious tours of duty in 2004 to various cities in India. He assured the audience that he had substantial experience in organising yatras, and that this one would be performed in eight days by travelling in cars from Vrindavan to all the main sacred places in the Braj region. The tour of Braj began in March with more than 2000 participants. The participants were transported in 150 cars and 10 buses hired from local taxi and tour bus operators. In the following days, the yatra took on a standard pattern; participants assembled for a buffetstyle breakfast served at the ashram and then boarded the cars and buses in the morning. The cavalcade of cars and buses made their way to two or three sites temples, shrines or natural features like water bodies and hillocks stopping at each place for about an hour. Packed lunches were transported in a special van. The procession of vehicles made their way back to the ashram in Vrindavan by sunset for cultural performances, which were followed by an elaborate buffet dinner, often sponsored by wealthy participants. The contemporary version of Braj-yatra presents several opportunities for entrepreneurship starting with Maharaj-ji (along with his aides) who operated more like a package tour provider mediating between participants and their religious and touristic expectations, and destinations. The growth in such package tours has also been benecial for auxiliary service providers such as the Brahmins that prepare ritual meals and feasts, and the musicians that perform at these events. Package tours usually include all of these services as part of the Brajyatra. A similar pattern is followed in the roughly 30 to 40 Braj car-yatras that are now organised at different times of the year by various goswamis and gurus. In addition, there are many private tourist bus operators and few temples that offer smaller temple tourism packages called Braj Darshan tours. Another notable event illustrates the apparent rise in entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviour. A religious guru belonging to a hegemonic goswami family organised a spiritual retreat on the island and a series of cultural performances (raslila) on a stage set in the middle of
Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 523535 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr

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532 Yamuna River. His idea was to celebrate Holi in an exceptional manner and make it as memorable as the performance by international artist Yanni at the Taj Mahal in Agra in the past (Shinde, 2008b, p. 177). This novel event was widely advertised and marketed in major cities across the region exclusively for their own followers. The high prole of the event was evident from the fact that Swiss tents were imported for setting up the camp on the island, the stage was set on a oat, the access was restricted and participants were expected to pay at least INR 20004000 per night of stay, which by any standards is very high as compared with other options available in the town. The examples previously mentioned have not only set a precedent but also indicate the ways in which religious actors are reinventing themselves and their relationships in driving the religious tourism market in Vrindavan. DISCUSSION The changing trends of religiosity, pilgrimage performances, package tours, car-convoy Braj yatras, the promotion of cultural tourism by state government and tour operators, and inux of foreigners through the ISKCON movement are transforming the pilgrimage economy of Vrindavan. The proliferation of modern ashrams, luxury apartments, hotels and restaurants in the region to cater for increasing tourist ows indicates that a new kind of tourist space associated with leisure and religious consumption is being produced. Yet religious activity is central to this phenomenon and therefore this transition is better explained as religious tourism. In religious tourism, both components religion and tourism are open for entrepreneurial activity. More often than not, religious actors are also the ones who provide services that support tourism. However, the opposite is not true; tourism agencies can promote and organise the travel part but the religious part needs some kind of assistance/intervention of religious actors. Following the classical work of Schumpter (1936), it is evident that religious actors have opened new markets by exploring new economic combinations and by reorganizing the
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K. A. Shinde pilgrimage industry to cater to religious tourism. Religious gurus capitalise on the sanctity and cultural importance of Vrindavan to attract a larger tourist clientele, seeking new forms of leisure and cultural event-based experiences. Besides market demands, their entrepreneurship results from factors such as genetic inheritance, religious values, personality needs, status of the group in community and family structure (Hitchcock, 2000; Ryan, 1992). In the examples previously mentioned, the entrepreneurs belong to the elite class of Goswami families, their aim was to disseminate the core values of their sect, and to strengthen linkages with existing followers and recruit new followers. As gurus, they are seen as important personalities with hegemonic social status and therefore their ventures remain unquestioned. Their religious duties are spread across the large joint families that are entrusted and attached with their hereditary temples. Religious gurus aptly translate these conditions and circumstances, which inuence entrepreneurial traits, into opportunities to participate in present-day religious tourism (Minniti, 2007). The activities of religious actors show almost all features of an entrepreneur, including risk taking, expertise, expectation of gain and supportive environment, and task-related motivation (Bull and Willard, 1995; Shaw and Shaw, 1999). In a market where the demand for religious and spiritual experiences is increasing, entrepreneurship can be articulated in terms of the ability of gurus to attract sponsors and recruit new followers. Be it the retreat on the island, the car-yatra or the globetrotting performer of katha, there was an element of gain and risk involved. Organisers of both ventures suffered nancial loss; the tents on the island were vacant and many participants spent more time and had meals in the town rather than at the camp; and the last leg of the car-yatra was cancelled because the organisers were not able to pay the car drivers. These activities were a part of their regular tasks but they found new, innovative ways to accomplish them. The idea of Braj-yatra was the same, but its organisation and management were considerable departures from the tradition. Yet the participants, organisers and followers of the gurus were supportive and applauded these ventures.
Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 523535 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr

Entrepreneurship in Religious Tourism, India However, such entrepreneurship also attracts criticism. The new strategies of religious entrepreneurship and competition among goswamis, gurus and tour operators have supplanted social networks previously supporting the pilgrimage economy. Some of the gurus and goswamis of older temples are critical of the new entrepreneurship of their more prosperous colleagues, arguing that commodication of performances such as katha and the proliferation of yatras outside the traditional pilgrimage season devalues the spiritual meaning of the experience and the importance of the rituals for visitors, and negatively affects the sanctity of the place. They point out that the increasing tendency of gurus to cater to the immediate gratication of religious tourists has reduced Vrindavan to the status of a religious marketplace. Such criticism of entrepreneurship, however, is misplaced. The new forms of entrepreneurship are manifestations of new patronage relationships (between religious actors and middle-class urban visitors) that establish the contemporary framework for religious tourism. The increasing competition among religious actors to serve religious tourists has affected the income-earning opportunities for pandas as visitors are less inclined to enter into jajmani relations with pandas. Entwistle (1987) observes that some panda families in Vrindavan have responded to the changing conditions by diversifying into small-scale commercial services including money lending, accounting or land brokerage. The tactics of pandas who operate in the religious sphere, be it herding of visitors into new temples or establishing spurious new sites, are seen as unscrupulous (Weller, 1997). A balanced view would consider them as entrepreneurs trying best to explore the potential and supply services in a competitive market where visitors want to see as many temples as possible in a short trip. CONCLUSION I began by asking who the entrepreneurs are and where the entrepreneurship in religious tourism is. Based on the study of Vrindavan, I have demonstrated that religious entrepreneurs drive religious tourism, at least in a
Copyright 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

533 non-western context. I have also shown that entrepreneurship helps to understand the difference between religious tourism in the western and non-western world as well as the differences between subtypes of religious tourism. Following the analysis of entrepreneurship, it can be said that religious tourism is a natural progression of the ritualised pilgrimage economy, inuenced by the changes in socio-economic, religious and cultural activities that accompany contemporary pilgrimage practices. Entrepreneurship results from the embeddedness of this economy, in particular religiouscultural contexts. Religious tourism entails more than visual aspects; it is a participatory process. It is not only about visiting a sacred site but also visiting in a certain manner (socially and culturally) that works on knowledge of religious procedures and protocols (Gupta, 1999). If the nal act is not performed in cooperation with or utilising the services of indigenous entrepreneurs, conicts may arise, diminishing the experience that is being sought (Shackley, 2001). The indigenous religious entrepreneurs, the traditional organisers and managers of the pilgrimage industry, appeal to religious sensitivities and mediate between the experience of performing religious rituals and the convenience of undertaking the performances. And therefore, instead of being critical of such entrepreneurship, it should be seen as a force that drives religious tourism. I also argue that entrepreneurship in religious tourism can be better explained by moving beyond the conventional approach of the formal and informal sectors in tourism. By denition, religious entrepreneurs would be categorised as informal, but doing so will prove detrimental, both to a theoretical understanding of religious tourism and its practical development. There is a strong social dimension to entrepreneurship in religious tourism. Entrepreneurship generally occurs at the top social class and elite level (hegemony of certain groups) and permeates down (Dahles, 1999; Hitchcock, 2000). Often, there is inequity with regard to access to the market and it continues for socio-economic and political reasons (Soeld, 1993; Echtner, 1995). Those who aspire to be entrepreneurs face barriers of challenging religious traditions and orthodoxy and are at
Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 523535 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr

534 the risk of condemnation for increasing touristic activities and profanising the sanctity of the place (Shoval, 2000). Yet non-religious actors including tour operators and government agencies that promote cultural and religious tourism escape such censure. As this paper has focused on only religious entrepreneurs, it is necessary to explore the role of non-religious entrepreneurs (including the formal and informal sectors) in religious tourism. One way to move forward is to focus on how to support entrepreneurship in religious tourism. Generally, the training and education of entrepreneurs are suggested to address typical barriers in entrepreneurship that include nance and lack of experience, knowledge, marketing skills and the high-risk nature of the tourism industry (Echtner, 1995). However, none of these appears to be problems in religious tourism. A major challenge in religious tourism is the regulation of entrepreneurs, especially when they are mostly categorised as informal (Shaw and Shaw, 1999). While the tourism policy (national and state) is silent on the notion of religious entrepreneurship, considering religious entrepreneurs as informal further excludes them from the industry, their exclusion implied from the rules and regulations the formal sector enterprises are subjected to. This paper suggests that policy-makers should recognise the need for a comprehensive policy that neither undermines the pivotal role of religious entrepreneurship nor compromises the religious nature of activities that form the basis for religious tourism. REFERENCES
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Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 523535 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr