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Varanasi and Ganga: Geomorphological and Archaeological Investigations at Ramnagar

Vidula Jayaswal (Author) Uma Kant Shukla (Author) Meera Sharma (Author)

The book embodies results of the first multi-disciplinary study carried out on the banks of the river Ganga. The scientific information collected by geological and archaeological investigations by experts brings to light many unknown facets of the centre of Indian culture – Varanasi, and its lifeline – the river Ganga. Needless to say that Ganga and Varanasi are inseparable physically as well as culturally. The results of this study at Ramnagar also make clear the ancient settlement patterns in Varanasi. The holy landscape which grew on the crescent-shaped northern bank of Ganga geologically forms part of the Himalayan formation, while its southern bank connects the region with Deccan plateau. Interestingly, both the banks are valued accordingly. Connected with the abode of gods like Shiva, the Himalayan side is the pious landscape where the city expanded. In contrast, the opposite side, i.e. Ramnagar bank, is not recommended for dwelling as per ancient traditional norms. This bank accordingly was, and still is, sparingly under occupation. Readers may come across many such geo-physical factors, which are deep rooted in the culture of Varanasi.

Besides recording the findings of the geological and archaeological investigations, this book examines roots of certain prevalent mythological stories as well. Ganga, for instance, appears prominently in a number of mythological tales and folklore of Varanasi. In the narration of Ganga-avataran, this holy water channel is said to be diverted to Varanasi due to the penance performed by the sage king Bhagirathi. A pre-Ganga stage in Varanasi is obvious in this tale. Significantly, the pre-Ganga stage and the time from when this water channel started flowing in Varanasi, could be ascertained on account of the scientific analyses in this book.

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About the authors

Vidula Jayaswal

Grand daughter of (Late) Dr. K.P. Jayaswal, Dr. Vidula Jayaswal is presently teaching and guiding research in Ancient Indian History in general and Archaeology in particular at the Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. Dr. Jayaswal was selected by the Government of India under the National Scholarship Scheme to study abroad and received specialized training in Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A. She also served the Archaeological Survey of India. Author of eight books, five in English – Palaeohistory of India, Chopper-Chopping Component of Palaeolithic India, Kushana Clay Art, An Ethno Archaeological View of Indian Terracottas and Paisra: The Stone Settlement of Bhiar (last two in co-authorship) and three text books in Hindi-Bharatiya Itihas ke Adi Charan Ki Roop Rekha (Pura Prastar Yuga), Bharatiya Itihas Ka Madhya Prastar Yuga , and Bharatiya Itihas Ka Nav Prastar Yuga. She has also edited a proceeding of workshop which is published as Ancient Ceramics. Dr. Jayaswal has to her credit more than fifty research papers, which have been published in the proceedings of International Symposia and various publications of repute. Her noteworthy field investigations are excavations of prehistoric sites at Lahariandih in Mirzapur and Paisra in Munger districts and excavation of historical settlement at Bhitari, and, surveys of pottery and terracotta producing centres of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Her recent discovery of the Ancient Quarries of Asokan times and subsequent periods, near Chunar is a significant contribution to both Archaeology and History of Arts.

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Uma Kant Shukla

Dr. Uma Kant Shukla is Professor in the Centre of Advanced Study in Geology, Institute of Sciences, Banaras Hindu University. Recipient of the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (Germany).

Meera Sharma

Dr. (Ms.) Meera Sharma received her Doctoral degree (1988) from the Banaras Hindu University. She specializes in the Buddhist art and iconography. She has participated in a number of excavations, viz. Aktha, Ramnagar, Shooltankeshwar and Rajghat, conducted by the Department of A.I.H.C. & Archaeology of the Banaras Hindu University and Jnana-Pravaha, Varanasi. Her studies on the sculpture centres – Sarnath and Mathura, and interpretation of find-spot contexts of the icons from the religious settlements has added new direction to the study of ancient religious structures and establishments.

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Bibliographic information

Title Varanasi and Ganga: Geomorphological and Archaeological Investigations at Ramnagar
Format Hardcover
Date published: 20.08.2016
Edition 1st. ed.
Language: English
isbn 9788173055546
length xvi+370p., Illustrations 106; Figures; Maps 100; 22cm x 28cm.