Temples of the Indus

Studies in the Hindu Architecture of Ancient Pakistan


In Pakistan's northwest, a sequence of temples built between the sixth and the tenth centuries provides a missing chapter in the evolution of the Hindu temple in South Asia. Combining some elements from Buddhist architecture in Gandharā with the symbolically powerful curvilinear Nāgara tower formulated in the early post-Gupta period, this group stands as an independent school of that pan-Indic form, offering new evidence for its creation and original variations in the four centuries of its existence. Drawing on recent archaeology undertaken by the Pakistan Heritage Society as well as scholarship from the Encyclopaedia of Indian Temple Architecture project, this volume finally allows the Salt Range and Indus temples to be integrated with the greater South Asian tradition.

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Michael W. Meister, Ph.D. (1974) in Fine Arts, is W. Norman Brown Professor of South Asian Studies, University of Pennsylvania. He has been general editor of the Encyclopaedia of Indian Temple Architecture (Delhi: 1983–92), Discourses on Śiva (Philadelphia: 1984), and co-author of Desert Temples (Jaipur:
"As it is, Meister's narrative, combined with the excellent photographs of the temples and their surrounding landscapes along with illustrations of their ground plans and features, makes this volume invaluable for understanding the little known but rich architectural canvas of Hindu temples in Pakistan." – Nayanjot Lahiri, in: H-Asia, H-Net Reviews, May, 2012
"... reads like a finely crafted Mughal miniature painting, leading from mesmerizing details toward its ambitious design. (…) While archaeology and architectural history typically attend to people who leave behind material remains from historical times, the suggestion here is that archaeology should engage the presence and potency of the land on which temples are built, beyond the periodized sedimentation of human history makers. At least in South Asia, where religious sites exist for centuries and are steeped in mythic time, this radical vision for historical archaeology is valuable, and dared in this volume." – in: JSAH 72/1 (2013)
"This excellent and well-illustrated book represents a major contributionto the Salt-Range Temple Project (...) This book on temple architecture in Pakistan is important for its presentation of multiple perspectives and unique insights on a topic that is generally overlooked in the modern media." – J. Mark Kenoyer, University of Wisconsin, Madison, in: HIMALAYA XXXII (2012)
All those interested in the history of temple architecture, art, Indic Studies, and religion in South Asia, Pakistan, Afganistan, and Central Asia.
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