The Hindu Temple and Its Sacred Landscape explores Hinduism as it was practised in temples across the Indian subcontinent throughout history, highlighting the temple’s significance as a marker of cultural identity.
The Hindu Temple and Its Sacred Landscape illustrates how careful attention to the Hindu temple, its social history, and cultural landscape allows us to better appreciate how Hinduism has been practised and lived throughout history.
The Hindu temple was not merely a place of worship or a static indicator of royal generosity but an institution that involved the active participation of the community for its establishment, maintenance, and survival. Rather than studying temples as isolated structures, The Hindu Temple and Its Sacred Landscape thus suggests that we need to examine them in the context of their social base and the sacred microcosms of which they form a part. Through a combination of textual study, archaeological evidence, and insights from contemporary anthropology, the book explores the diverse ways in which devotees, patrons, and visitors have engaged with temples, shrines, and their wider surroundings.
Drawing attention to the vibrancy of the Hindu temple in different locales, The Hindu Temple and Its Sacred Landscape traces the ways in which Hindu notions of sanctity and sacredness were defined and redefined throughout history through the diversity of temple audiences, deities, and rituals. The book thus allows us to form a more accurate picture of Hindu religious life in the past and the central role the temple has played in consolidating Hindu identity.
EXPERT ANALYSIS: Author Himanshu Prabha Ray provides authoritative analysis of the Hindu temple, drawing on her expertise as an award-winning Sanskrit scholar, historian, and archeologist.
SUPPLEMENTAL STUDY: The Hindu Temple and Its Sacred Landscape provides a breadth of educational knowledge as a supplement to both academic coursework and the independent study of Hinduism. With the integration of discussion questions, suggested further reading, a glossary of key terms, and images throughout, The Hindu Temple and Its Sacred Landscape offers an accessible introduction to studying the history and significance of Hindu temples.
EXPLORE THE SERIES: The Hindu Temple and Its Sacred Landscape expands the collection of academic texts developed by the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies Publishing Series offers authoritative yet accessible introductions to a wide range of subjects in Hindu Studies. Each book in the series aims to present its subject matter in a form that is engaging and readily comprehensible to persons of all backgrounds – academic or otherwise – without compromising scholarly rigour. The series thus bridges the divide between academic and popular writing by preserving and utilising the best elements of both. Women in the Hindu World and The Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation and Study Guide are also available in the series.
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More books in this series: The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies Mandala Publishing Series