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Wonderland Banaras- A Modern History of Ganga Ghats

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Item Code: UAW040
Author: Satyapal Yadav
Language: English
Edition: 2021
ISBN: 9789387200043
Pages: 160
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 340 gm

Book Description

About the Book
Banaras is the wonderland of the first sight. Banaras is the historical city of temples, trade and traditions. This is the sacred city of Siva and salvation with historical exigencies having moral, migrational and material significance. It is also the land of the great Ganga ghats whose first encounter excites a sense of admiration or wonder for their delicate beauty and fascinating charm. Magical ghats and musical water of holy Ganga here inspire the ecstatic feeling of adoration, appreciation and devotion. They also signify the ideas of texts, tenets and time in the Hindu universe as centers of peace, pilgrims and pilgrimage, However, the city and its Ganga ghats have also been grappling with the language of myth and reality of life for centuries. Every ghat, its footsteps and building walls with unrivaled natural beauty and heart healing spirituality has its own story to tell The city has attracted greater and diverse intellectual and scholarly attention from across the globe in modern times. When and why the city came to be known as the Canterbury Jand Vatican of the Hindu world? What is the source of continuity and change for this city? How it has changed over time? What is the socio-economic and cultural significance of this city in modern India?

It is my proud privilege to write the Foreword for this book, appropriately titled "Wonderland Banaras", written by my former student and now colleague, Dr. Satyapal Yadav. Originally written in Hindi, it has been translated into English but has not lost any of its flavour or lucidity in the process. The book, to begin with, was a Ph. D thesis which attempted to analyze, in a historical framework, the varied dimensions of the city of Banaras, also called Varanasi or Kashi, in the modern period.

An important feature of the book is that it is instructive for research scholars as Dr. Yadav has focused on research methodology in the Introduction. He also gives a detailed list of primary and secondary sources for his study. A historical perspective of the city of Banaras is presented by Dr. Yadav in the first chapter where he quotes the American writer Mark Twain who said, "Banaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together". Interesting insights into the topography, demography and historical records of the various urban settlements of Banaras are to be found in the third chapter titled: "An All India City: Society, Siva and Salvation".

Several archeological and literary evidences illustrate the commercial importance of Banaras. It is in this context that Dr. Yadav quotes historian Uma Pandey who writes "Kashi has been known for its silk and cotton textiles since ancient times. They were called 'Kashi wastra', 'Kashikanshu', 'Kashikuttam' or 'Kashiya". The Jatakas, according to Dr. Yadav, are important source material for research on Banaras. They tell us that excellent woodcraft was produced here and it was a major center of trade where several caravans or 'sarthawahs' returned with sandalwood in exchange for Banarasi crafts. An account of the popular festivals of Banaras in all their splendor constitute the theme of the last chapter.

Banaras or Kashi, "the Illustrious", is a city of great antiquity, of unparalleled sanctity and of boundless beauty. This city enjoys the prestige of being one of the principal cities of the Indian sub-continent since time immemorial. In this way, the city of Banaras naturally represents the time-tested religious and intellectual traditions of this land that has so uninterruptedly maintained its ancient celebrity and distinctions. So, it is no wonder that the city has continuously attracted greater scholarly attention and imaginations from across the world since its existence on the face of the Earth.

my heartfelt gratit for all sorts of mer encouragement, and above all my me immensely.

The present work is an account of the city of Banaras and its Ganga ghats in modern times. The city is also known as Varanasi or Kashi which has occupied a prominent place in the annals of humankind. The author has been living in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi since the last fifteen years and has enjoyed peculiarly favorable opportunities for becoming acquainted with its inner life, characteristics and significance in modern India.And the present work that covers socio-economic and cultural aspects of the city, is the doctoral thesis of the author that was completed in Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. This work would not have been possible without direct or indirect support of several people and institutions. First of all, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude towards the almighty who blessed me with virtues of hard work, perseverance and inquisitiveness.

I express my due and deep respect to my parents who equipped me with the distinctions of patience, integrity and everlasting thirst for diligence in life. They are my inspirations of all time. They have been my friend, philosopher and guide who have directed my life all these years without which I would not have reached here. Their life is my guiding light on the uneven paths of life.

I extend my warmest thanks to the Head of the Department of History, BHU, Prof. Ajay Pratap for his congenial support, interactions and availability throughout this work.

Ganga ghats of Banaras have been proudly known for their enriching traditions and cultural heritage during the entire period of 19 and 20 centuries. These ghats are repositories of glorious histories expressed in various social, economic and cultural forms, Primarily, they enjoy infinite glory as a pilgrimage center. They are source of salvation for the Hindus. However, they are no way less popular as a modern city with diverse things and people, and as a well-known center of craft, commerce and traditional knowledge. Even today lakhs of people make miserable journeys to Varanasi from far South India to Jammu & Kashmir and from the Northeastern states to Gujarat in search of peace, exultancy and contentment.'

Varanasi is not only Canterbury for the Hindus but it is also their Oxford. What is Vatican City to the Roman Catholics, so is Varanasi to the Hindus. Before the birth of Lord Buddha, Kashi was an independent and prosperous state. Gautam Buddha had himself acclaimed this city in his preachings. Banaras is one the most ancient cities of the world on account of its history, civilization and tradition. It is compared with other ancient cities such as Rome, Jerusalem, Athens and Peking (Beijing). Banaras is also known by various other names such as Kashi, Varanasi, Anandvan, Avimuktakshetra and Mahaashamshan. Area located between the Rivers Varuna and Assi is called Varanasi. Thus Varanasi is the geographical name of Banaras Banaras (N 25°4'30", E 83°1'30") is equated with modern day Rajghat. This is situated on the left bank of River Ganga shaped as a half moon. Average length of this curve shaped district from the East to the West is 131 KM and from the North to the South is 93 KM. Total area of the city about is 1535 KM². River Ganga in Southeast and River Varuna in Northeast provide the city with natural protection.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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