Kashi

Kashi: The Valiant History of a Sacred Geography tells the story of the most sacred of all Hindu holy cities through the prism of sacred geography as is extensively documented in the Sthala Purana. The book features a summary of the Kashi Khanda from the Skanda Purana, an ancient text on the divine origin and leela surrounding the kshetra of Kashi. The history of this kshetra is enriched by the accounts of warrior sadhus, sages, kings, queens, devotees and ordinary citizens who dedicated their lives to preserving and reviving this sacred geography by doggedly building and rebuilding temples, taking up arms against invaders, meticulously documenting Kashi’s history and lore, and tenaciously sustaining pilgrimage routes and practices covering the holy sites of this pivotal city.

 

In particular, the lesser-known story of the warrior sadhus who defended the Kashi Vishwanath temple from marauding invaders is explored through the lens of sacred geography. Studied in this light, Kashi is both a spatial and metaphysical contestation. The current controversy and litigation over the Gyanvapi site cannot therefore be satisfactorily resolved without taking recourse to the idea of sacred geography, which has since time immemorial informed Hindus and indigenous societies worldwide about their identity and the relevance of space and place, culture and metaphysics, civilization and the development of nationhood.