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The Sacred Landscape of Mundeshwari
Author: Vidula Jayaswal, Arvind Kumar Singh & Meera Sharma
Year: 2017
Price: Rs 3600/- (Packing & Postage Extra)
Availability: Available

Reputed to be one of the oldest living temples of the world, Mundeshwari is also the oldest temple of Nagar/North Indian style in the outskirts of Varanasi. Its significance increases further when one finds its composition to be governed by two diverse religious traditions - the 'Elite' and the 'Adivasi'. The shrine is an example of acculturation, and is a happy blending of the Brahmanical and Adivasi religious ideologies and practices. An ancient cultural outpost of Varanasi, Mundeshwari now forms part of Bihar state. However, the customs and religious traditions followed here are those of Kashi-kshetra. It thus adds a new dimension to the cultural and religious history of Varanasi, besides demonstrating the rich heritage of Bihar province.

The book not only documents the findings of epigraphic records and a large scatter of icons and fragments of shrines, which are in hundreds, but also incorporates views/interviews of the local inhabitants and the visitors, both of the adivasi and non-adivasi communities. Since the local inhabitants have always been the main custodians of this sacred landscape, ethnographic recordings add new fact to this study.

The present volume brings to light all the available information on the historical, ethnographic and archival records of Mundeshwari. Together with the data which has been assimilated by experts in the field of epigraphy, art history and ethnography, its interpretation in terms of reconstruction of the religious landscape adds further value to this study.

The documentation and detailed study of Mundeshwari compiled in this book would certainly be useful to the historians and researchers of cultural studies. The discussion and synthesis of the collected information from this Shiva-Shakti peetha has been weaved in a way that will provide an interesting and thought-provoking reading to the scholars.