An archaeologist and a teacher of repute, Professor Vidula Jayaswal, after superannuation from the Banaras Hindu University, where she served for more than four decades, is presently occupying the prestigious Prof. R.C. Sharma Chair of Archaeology and Art History, at Jfiana-Pravaha, Centre for Cultural Studies and Research, Varanasi. She has also served Archaeological Survey of India as Deputy Superintending Archaeologist for a short period. Recipient of various scholarships and fellowships, she received specialized training in archaeology and anthropology at the University of Berkeley.
Professor Jayaswal has not only carried out a number of archaeological and ethnological field studies, but has also been prompt in publishing the results. Author of over twenty books and research monographs, and about 70 research articles, Professor Jayaswal is known for her original contribution in Indian prehistory, ethnoarchaeology and interpretation of archaeological remains of the Historical Period of the Middle Ganga Plain. Besides, she could also infuse scientific temper to the study of archaeology, through some major projects financed by the Ford Foundation (USA), and the Department of Science & Technology (Government of India), of which she has been the Principal Investigator and Coordinator. Her recent publications include
Two factors are responsible for the writing of this book. One, soon after the publication of my book Adi-Kashi se Varanasi tak, written for Hindi readers, several of my friends and colleagues wanted me to translate it in English for wider circulation. The second reason was to contribute further to the series on the religious landscapes of Varanasi, which was planned by me and the first volume of which was published as The Buddhist Landscape of Varanasi. After its publication, I was organizing myself to write on the Shaiva landscape of Varanasi, but thought to translate the Hindi book in English first. To my utter surprise, I found the translation from Hindi to English very difficult, because some of the Hindi expressions fitted so well with the contents of Adi-Kashi that I was unable to give the same expression to the passages in English. So I dropped the idea of translation. However, I realized that the theme of Adi-Kashi forms a good background to the volumes on the Buddhist and the Shaiva religious landscapes of Varanasi. The history of the origin and early stages of development of socio-political and cultural norms, including religious ones, was embedded in the remains of the period (19th century BCE to the fourth-sixth centuries CE) covered in Adi-Kashi. Also, after the publication of this book, three other ancient sites, Shooltankeshwar, Kashi-Rajghat and Pukka Mahal, were excavated by me in Varanasi. The new evidence unearthed helped in revising some of the earlier hypothesis, and add new facets to the theme.
The two prominent landscapes, the Buddhist and the Shaiva, emerged against the socio-political background of early times, when Vedic and folk religions were prevalent in Kashi-kshetra. In fact, the origin and development of the three elite religious landscapes, the Vedic, the Buddhist and the Shaiva, followed a chronocultural sequence, and can be projected and understood better if the early history of the region is taken into consideration. Realizing this, I worked on the present volume.
Besides outlining the origin and early stages of development of the religious landscapes of Kashi-kshetra, the book in hand, therefore, also focuses on the emergence and history of Kashi-Janpada (kingdom) and making of the capital city, Varanasi. It may be confessed that this volume should have been written first. But somehow the proper order of publication of the volumes could not be maintained. Nevertheless, since I am convinced about its relevance in the proposed series of sacred landscapes of Kashi-Varanasi, I have decided to go ahead with its publication, and hope that the readers will also endorse my conviction about its relevance. In tune with the other volumes of the series, this book also aims at presenting historical information and interpretations without using complicated and technical jargons and long descriptions of findings.
I shall be failing in my duty if I do not acknowledge support of the persons and institutions without which this volume could not have seen the light of the day.
Dr. Meera Sharma, Research Assistant, Jnana-Pravaha, not only helped me laying hands on the relevant literary references, but was kind enough to weed out typographic errors from the draft of the manuscript. Shri Ajay Kumar Chakrawal, the Draftsman prepared all the line-drawing illustrations, and Shri Samrat Chakravarti prepared some of the photographs. Shri Aniruddha Krishna Dhanekar had been prompt in making reading material available to me from the library of Jnana-Pravaha. There are many students who assisted me in the excavations of sites, and the institutions like, Jnana-Pravaha, Varanasi, and the Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi, provided infrastructural and financial support. I wish to record my gratitude to each one of the individuals and the institutions.
As for Shri Vikas Arya of the Aryan Books International, I should say, he has not only published the volume putting in his best efforts, but has encouraged me to pursue the theme of sacred landscapes from its inception. I offer my sincere thanks to him.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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