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Art and Architecture of Uttarakhand

O.C. Handa (Author) Madhu Jain (Author)
Synopsis "Art and Architecture of Uttarakhand is the first ever comprehensive study on the art and architectural legacy of the newly formed hill state of Uttarakhand. This mountainous state can proudly boast of being that part of the subcontinent wherefrom the Indian civilisation developed and proliferated to the pan-Indian dimension. In fact, The Kedarkhand, the classical identity of this region, formed an integral part of the Aryavart or the Bharat. Since the first settlement of the Indo-Aryans in the Gangetic plains, the snow-clad Himalayan ranges of Kedarkhand have been the source of perpetual attraction and inspiration to the multitude of humanity the world over. This region has been the grand repository of diverse cultures since the Khasha and Kirati cultures intermingled here ages ago. And, as the wheels of time rolled by, innumerable ethno-cultural milieus developed, flourished and vanished here. The imprints of all those past identities are still buried under the substratum of the dominating Brahminic culture. Obviously, Uttarakhand should be one of the archaeologically richest parts of the sub-continent.

In the present study, an attempt has been made for the first time to discover all those subterranean evidences--material and non-material--to present a wholesome picture of the cultural scenario of Uttarakhand in all its vividness. While the material evidences of the two most dominating religions in the history of this region--Buddhism and Brahminism--have been adequately analysed and discussed in the context of the standing temples, the anterior Khasha culture has also been brought to light, and the religious and socio-cultural facets of that exotic culture discussed in the context of the standing wooden temples--the surviving material evidences of what may be defined as the Khasha architecture. In fact, in the present work, a wholesome and cognisable picture of the past cultures of this region has been presented through archaeology.

In Uttarakhand, the tradition of painting remained confined only to what earlier used to be the Garhwal kingdom. Miniature painting flourished in that kingdom under the influence of Mughal and Western Pahari schools, ironically without feudal patronage. In such a situation, could an independent school of painting flourish here, is a problem that has been thoroughly discussed. So far, our knowledge about the tradition of painting in Garhwal has remained subjective and biased. It is for the first time that the problem 'whether Garhwal School of Painting' has been subjected to the acid test to ascertain the reality. Nevertheless, the Garhwal atelier did inspire painting on the walls of Guru Ram Rai Durbar at Dehradun, in the akharas and havelis at Kankhal and havelis at Saharanpur. It is again for the first time that the tradition of miniature-painting and wall-painting in Uttarakhand has been studied objectively and in a comprehensive manner in the present work. Art and Architecture of Uttarakhand, therefore, has a legitimate claim to be the pioneering and trail-blazing work in many respects."
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About the authors

O.C. Handa

Dr. O.C. Handa is a well-known connoisseur of are and culture, and an outstanding scholar in history and archaeology, especially of the Himalayan region, having been in the field now for almost a half century. In his exploratory pursuits, he has been undertaking several expeditions, many of them the solo ones, to the far-flung nooks and corners of the Western and Central Himalayan regions. That would underscore his zeal to explore the antique but extant material evidences of history, art and culture of the Himalayan region, and his commitment to acquire the firsthand and authentic knowledge of almost all aspects of the creative enterprise of the people of this region. This quality is well reflected in his writings. He did his post-graduation in History from the University of Mysore, Ph. D. from the Meerut University and D. Litt. From the Agra University. Having come from the civil engineering background, Himachal Pradesh for several years. Dr. Handa has more than fifteen exclusive and four edited books on the art, history, archaeology and culture of the himalayan region to his credit. Besides, he has been writing articles and research papers for various national and international research journals and magazines. He has also been performing for the radio and TV. He has participated in several regional, national and international seminars and workshops and delivered lectures on the subjects of his specialty at various forums in India and abroad. He remained a member of different expert committees of the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi and the ministry of Tourism & Culture, Govt. of India. Dr. Handa remained a fellow of the Himachal Academy of Art, Language and culture, Shimla, India Council of Historical Research, New Delhi and the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla at different periods. He was a Senior Fellow of the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi from 2001 to 2003.  He is a fellow of US-based Infinity Foundation, working on the Himalayan domestic architecture.

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Madhu Jain

Madhu Jain was educated at Connecticut College in the United States, following which she did her master’s in literature from Delhi University and studied French literature at the Sorbonne in Paris. In the seventies she worked as a reporter for the Statesman, moving towards the end of the decade to Sunday magazine to write on politics, foreign affairs and culture. She was also the New Delhi correspondent with the French national daily, La Croix, for a decade before she joined India Today in 1986, where she remained until 2000. Since then she has written for several publications, including Outlook and the Hindu, on contemporary life, art and cinema. She has curated two art exhibitions – Kitsch Kitsch Hota Hai on kitsch and the contemporary imagination and the other on the painter Viswanadhan. Madhu Jain lives in Delhi with her physicist husband Krishna Jain. They have two children.

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Bibliographic information

Title Art and Architecture of Uttarakhand
Format Hardcover
Date published: 22.08.2009
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Pentagon Press
Language: English
isbn 8182744172
length xxx+254p., Figures; Plates