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Dhārī Devī, Goddess of the Floods: Development, Disaster and the Transitions of a Place of Worship
The trajectory of the Dhārī Devī Temple epitomises the idea of catastrophes as watersheds. In particular, flood disasters have accompanied transformation processes of the site located on Alaknanda River in the Indian Himalayas. As early as 1894, a flash flood had a significant impact on the site and the identity of the deity. Local flood legends gained new topicality with the planning of a hydroelectric power plant in the vicinity. They became part of debates surrounding the construction scheme that required the relocation of the sacred site. This case study explores flood discourses and illuminates their influence on a development project. It further demonstrates how previous controversies framed the public interpretation of two flood disasters in 2012 and specifically of the "Himalayan Tsunami" in 2013.