Construction and Reconstruction of Sacred Space in Vārānasī

in Numen
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



It is widely believed that Vārānasī (Benares) ranks among the oldest holy cities on earth. Archaeological and textual sources, however, begin only to testify to the construction of sacred space in the first millennium AD. A significant discrepancy is found between the archaeological data (mainly seals) and early textual sources belonging to the 5th to 8th centuries. While seals provide us with the names of temples that apparently were frequented by the ordinary pilgrim, the oldest Māhātmya text that has recently become available, three chapters of the ‘original’ Skandapurāna, depicts Vārānasī as a place of ascetics and yogis. The spheres of devotion and world-renouncing are further complicated in the 11th and 12th centuries, when Vārānasī is made the political capital of the Gāhadavāla dynasty. Inscriptions reveal yet another dimension of sacred space, that of state ritual. After the destruction of the town by the Muslim conquerors, a process of reconstruction sets in during the 13th and 14th centuries, resulting eventually in the sacred Vārānasī as we know it today.

Construction and Reconstruction of Sacred Space in Vārānasī

in Numen



Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 19 19 5
Full Text Views 24 24 10
PDF Downloads 10 10 3
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0