This volume brings together scholars from a range of academic specializations to study a crucial element of Indian culture-the Hindu temple. Highlighting the importance of cultural politics, patronage, and ritual practice, this volume provides an appraisal of temple and religious life in the past through a variety of perspectives such as art history, archaeology, anthropology, political history. Divided into two sections, the first deals with the archaeology of the temple. It includes not just religious structures and standing monuments but also an analysis of the location of the religious architecture within the social domain. The second section discusses texts connected with asceticism and Bhakti traditions. It also explores the interaction between the religious architecture and the diverse interest groups like the worshippers, ritual specialists, patrons, and artisans.
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The focus of this volume is suitably broad, with a range from South Asia's earliest apsidal temples at Sonkh to the refoundation of Jain temples in the twentieth century, but all contain an evaluation of the dynamic interplay between sculpture, text, patronage and monumentality. ( Robin Coningham, Times Literary Supplement.)
This selection of thirteen papers from a conference held at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies in October 2007 makes for stimulating and varied reading. ( George Michell, The Journal of Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies.)
Himanshu Prabha Ray is Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
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