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Banaras Reconstructed: Architecture and Sacred Space in a Hindu Holy City

Author/EditorDesai M (Author)
ISBN: 9780295741994
Pub Date27/06/2017
BindingPaperback
Pages304
Dimensions (mm)254(h) * 178(w)
Outgrowth of the author's thesis (Ph.D.--University of California, Berkeley, 2008) under the title: Resurrecting Banaras: urban space, architecture and religious boundaries.
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Between the late sixteenth and early twentieth centuries, Banaras, the iconic Hindu center in northern India that is often described as the oldest living city in the world, was reconstructed materially as well as imaginatively, and embellished with temples, monasteries, mansions, and ghats (riverfront fortress-palaces). Banaras's refurbished sacred landscape became the subject of pilgrimage maps and its spectacular riverfront was depicted in panoramas and described in travelogues.

In Banaras Reconstructed, Madhuri Desai examines the confluences, as well as the tensions, that have shaped this complex and remarkable city. In so doing, she raises issues central to historical as well as contemporary Indian identity and delves into larger questions about religious urban environments in South Asia.

Between the late sixteenth and early twentieth centuries, Banaras, the iconic Hindu center in northern India that is often described as the oldest living city in the world, was reconstructed materially as well as imaginatively, and embellished with temples, monasteries, mansions, and ghats (riverfront fortress-palaces). Banaras's refurbished sacred landscape became the subject of pilgrimage maps and its spectacular riverfront was depicted in panoramas and described in travelogues.

In Banaras Reconstructed, Madhuri Desai examines the confluences, as well as the tensions, that have shaped this complex and remarkable city. In so doing, she raises issues central to historical as well as contemporary Indian identity and delves into larger questions about religious urban environments in South Asia.

Madhuri Desai is associate professor of art history and Asian studies at the Pennsylvania State University. She is the coeditor of Colonial Frames, Nationalist Histories: Imperial Legacies, Architecture, and Modernity.

Introduction | The Paradox of Banaras 1. Authenticity and Pilgrimage 2. Palimpsests and Authority 3. Expansion and Invention 4. Spectacle and Ritual 5. Order and Antiquity 6. Visions and Embellishments Conclusion | Banaras Revisited

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