The cult of Khaṇḍobā, one of the largest contemporary popular Hindu cults in the Deccan, is extremely rich in both mythology and ritual; yet, the most popular ritual festival in the cult has no corresponding cultic myth. Interviews with pilgrims, analysis of pilgrim behavior at the festival, and examination of certain astrochronological notions prevalent in popular Hinduism indicate that explanations of the place of the festival in the cult and of its importance for hundreds of thousands of pilgrims each year are to be found not in any aspect of the mythology of the cult but rather in notions, preserved generally in popular Hinduism, of the special accessibility of power at special times.

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