From approximately the third century BCE through the thirteenth century CE, the remote mountainous landscape around the glacial sources of the Ganga (Ganges) River in the Central Himalayas in northern India was transformed into a region encoded with deep meaning, one approached by millions of Hindus as a primary locus of pilgrimage.
Nachiket Chanchani’s innovative study explores scores of stone edifices and steles that were erected in this landscape. Through their forms, locations, interactions with the natural environment, and sociopolitical context, these lithic ensembles evoked legendary worlds, embedded historical memories in the topography, changed the mountain range’s appearance, and shifted its semiotic effect. Mountain Temples and Temple Mountains also alters our understanding of the transmission of architectural knowledge and provides new evidence of how an enduring idea of India emerged in the subcontinent.
Art History Publication Initiative. For more information, visit http://arthistorypi.org/books/mountain-temples-and-temple-mountains
A very contemporary view of sacredness as something constructed, changing, and developing over time. Mountain Temples and Temple Mountains gives a compelling picture of the infusion of Sanskritic culture into the Central Himalayas and the growing mythological importance of the Himalayas in far-flung parts of India.
Adam Hardy, author of Theory and Practice of Temple Architecture in Medieval India
An ambitious and engaging book that encourages readers to consider how this geographically challenging and stunningly beautiful region gradually emerged as a sacred landscape with some of South Asia’s most important Hindu pilgrimage sites located in its farthest reaches.
Crispin Branfoot, Reader in the History of South Asian art and archaeology, SOAS University of London
Arguing for parallels in temple architecture and evolving places of pilgrimage in both the Central Himalaya and more distant places such as Gujarat, Nachiket Chanchani introduces hitherto less explored aspects of potential connections to enrich studies of early medieval India. A fine example of the dialogue between history and art history.
Romila Thapar, author of Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300
In this beautifully illustrated and carefully researched book, Chanchani offers an innovative breakthrough study of the religion, art, architecture, and culture of the northern Ganga River and central Himalayan area. . . . This study is as pleasurable to read as it is informative. The ideas Chanchani puts forth are provocative and will interest scholars, in various disciplines, who work on the region. Nonspecialists who are curious about the region will also appreciate this work.