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Festivals, Fairs and Fasts of India

Shakti M. Gupta (Author)

The celebration of life, joyous and exultant, fostering song and dance, the splendour of festivals and the bustle of fairs, has been the most characteristic feature of the Indian tradition from time immemorial.

The impulses to the revels have been both secular and sacred. The seasons which signal to man the time for work and the time for relaxation, the commencement of the agricultural cycle with sowing in spring and its culmination with the harvest of golden grain, have their associated festivals. And then of course we have, in endless variations of legend and myth, the great perception that there is an ever-renewed war of light and darkness, of the divine and the demoniac, in the evolution of the world.

But the richness of the Indian heritage is not exhausted by the Hindu tradition. History has made India the homeland of Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Zoroastrains, Muslims, Christians, and Jews. They too have their festivals. Thus every region of India, from the snows of the Himalayas to the surf of Kanya Kumari, celebrates life and the year pulses to its joyous rhythm with a festival almost every other day.

The work presents a vivid account of as many as 172 festivals of all eight religious communities of this unique country, India, which makes it almost encyclopaedic in its thrust and coverage. Further, the mythology of all the festivals is also most detailed and comprehensive, providing interesting legend and reference material to a scholar. The rich visual experience of the splendid panorama is spread over the whole book (in black and white and colour) through specially made and selected photographs and etchings.

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About the author

Shakti M. Gupta

Shakti M. Gupta is an established author having written on varied subjects. A Botanist by profession, she taught Botany at Dyal Singh College, University of Delhi and retired in 1992 as a Reader. Dr. Gupta did her Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Delhi in 1958, subject of specialization; Physiological and Biochemical Studies in the Pre-sowing Hardening Treatment of Crop Seeds. In 1972, Dr. Gupta did another Ph.D. from the Faculty of Oriental Archaeology, Martin Luther University, Wittenberg-Halle, Germany. The subject of specialization: Plant Myths and Traditions in India. This qualified her as an Ethnobotanist. Her other books are: From Daityas to Devatas in Hindu Mythology: An Illustrated Dictionary; Vishnu and His Incarnations; Legends around Shiva; Surya, the Sun god; Karttikeya, the Son of Shiva; A Short Biography of the Renowned Palaeobotanist, Professor Birbal Sahni; A Comprehensive Volume on Festivals, Fairs and Fasts of India. Her most recent book, Plants in Indian Temple Art, is based on a survey of plants sculpted on Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina temples, including the myths, legends and folklore associated withu these plants. The Association of Plant Taxonomy awarded her the Jnan Chandra Memorial Medal for the year 2000 for the book Plants in Indian Temple Art.

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Bibliographic information

Title Festivals, Fairs and Fasts of India
Format Hardcover
Date published: 31.12.1991
Edition 1st. ed.
Publisher Clarion Books
Language: English
isbn 8185120234
length 228p., B/W Illustrations 80; Coloured Illustrations 40; 11" X 8.6"