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Buddhist Western Himalaya

O C Handa (Author)
Synopsis Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir, and Lahul & Spiti and Kinnaur districts of Himachal Pradesh combined together form a distinct religio-cultural segment of the Western Himalayan region. In this region, Buddhism has been a living religion of the major bulk of the population. This region has attracted attention of the modern explorers, researchers and scholars since the nineteenth century. They have contributed enormously on adventure, travel, religion and art of this region, mostly to evoke curiosity in the exotic culture of this region. Nevertheless, this area, left to the blissful oblivion, has remained almost an enigma of the regional history. What is historically available on this region is either the apocryphal account of the Buddhist movement since its introduction during the Second Epoch in the tenth century from Central Tibet of the cursory and peripheral references of this region in the historical accounts of the neighbouring kingdoms. The political and social history of this region has, thus, not only remained suppressed by and subservient to the history of Buddhism in Tibet, but is also infected with strong monastic bias. The present work is a result of the strenuous efforts of the author for many years. An attempt has been made to piece together all the available source material – literary, archaeological and traditional – to construct a cogent and well-reasoned account of the historical events in this Himalayan Shangri-la of Buddhism. Towards that end, the histories of the neighbouring kingdoms and powers, which influenced the course of history of this region, have also been correlated so that the historical events of this region are integrated into the wider socio-cultural, religious and political format of the entire Western Himalayan region. It is for the first time that an integrated socio-political and religious history of this region has been attempted.
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About the author

O C Handa

Born in Mandi (Himachal Pradesh) on 2nd October 1936, Dr. O.C. Handa is an outstanding scholar, connoisseur of art and a persistent adventurer. In his exploratory pursuits, he has successively undertaken several expeditions to the far-flung pockets in the Western Himalayan region upto the border of Tibet, mostly on foot. This underscores his interest and zeal in exploring antique but extant sources of history, art and culture of this region. Dr. Handa did his post-graduation in History from University of Mysore, Ph.D. from Meerut University and D.Litt. from Agra University – his speciality being the Buddhist Archaeology of the Western Himalayan region. Besides articles, research papers and radio and T.V. performances, he has numerous books on art, history and culture of the Western Himalayan region to his credit. Dr. Handa was a fellow of Himachal Academy of Art, Languages & Culture, Shimla during 1984-1986; of Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi during 1991-1993; and of Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla during 1996-1998.

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Bibliographic information

Title Buddhist Western Himalaya
Author O C Handa
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2001
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8173871248
length 400p., Maps; 23cm.