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Towards the Pilgrimage Archetype : The Pancakrosi Yatra of Banaras

Rana P.B. Singh, Indica Books, 2002, pbk, 222 p, figs, ISBN : 8186569308, $15.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Towards the Pilgrimage Archetype : The Pancakrosi Yatra of Banaras/Rana P.B. Singh

Contents: Preface. 1. Towards pilgrimage, Tirtha Yatra. 2. The context: the cosmic mandala and the city. 3. Caurasikrosi Ksetra: the covering circuit. 4. The background of the Pancakrosi Yatra. 5. Change and correction of the route of the Pancakrosi Yatra. 6. Ritualscape: the pilgrimage-cognitive maps. 7. Sacred territory: historicity and meaning. 8. Sacred time: when to perform the yatra. 9. The Pancakrosi Yatra: the route and its shrines. 10. Pilgrimage and religious experience. 11. The Pancakrosi temple: microcosm of Kasi. 12. The five halting stations and Dharmasalas. 13. Typology of shrines and sacred sites. 14. Pilgrims' characteristics (June-July 1996). 15. Visvesvara Antargrha Yatra: the inner circuit. 16. The ecology of place and faithscape. 17. Organisation and improvement plan. 18. Towards an epilogue. 19. References. Appendices. Index.

"This book is the first detailed study on Pancakrosi and its associated inner sanctum, the Antargrha Yatra.

Assuming itself as the centre of the cosmos, Kasi (Varanasi, Banaras) has preserved up to date its mandalic system, which is experienced and revived by millions of devout Hindus through pilgrimage. At least since the 15 century, devotees continuously perform pilgrimage on these two circuits. The oral and mythological traditions of pilgrimage are narrated with a combination of historical, experiential, cultural, statistical, spatial and indological perspectives.

The 108 shrines on the route are described with the help of many maps and illustrations. The topics covered include the background of the archetypal nature of pilgrimage, the cosmic mandalas and the circulatory paths, the historical background of the Pancakrosi Yatra and its contextual growth, the context of cardinality, the impact of change, the pilgrimage-cognitive maps, sacred territory and sacred time, religious experiences, the Pancakrosi temple, the dharmasalas, the characteristics of pilgrims, the circuit of the inner sanctum, the ecology of place and the improvement plan. Finally, the book includes an exhaustive bibliography, followed by appendices giving information on shrines, temples, yatras, etc."

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