Lotus in the Stone: Sacred Journeys in Eternal India
A travelogue like no other, A guidebooks to India and its temples and hidden gems that you will cherish. Lotus In The Stone takes us on a journey to the dizzying array of deities, temples, festivals, rituals, art, architecture, applied sciences and living traditions of India, that is Bharat, bringing us to an understanding of the sublime, advanced society her culture nurtured. With her experiences and adventures in crisscrossing Inda for decades, the author shows us how ancient India's surviving heritage and living traditions are a testimony to her history and the invisible threads and sacred geography that bind her people together.
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C o n t e n t s
Stepping Out Beneath the Veneer
Strands of Living Culture
Warp and Weft of Shared Stories History Belongs to the Geography When Deities Too Travel
Devi and the Roots of Feminism in India Heritage through the Lens of Engineering Relearning the Language of Time and Space What is My Dharma?
Until Our Paths Cross Again
A distance of thousands of miles can be covered even by a tiny creature like an ant, if it keeps on walking slowly but consistently.
In the cold January winter, I was standing amidst a million strangers in Prayag, observing the transient world from a transient land as part of a cyclic event. The Kumbh Mela is a microcosm of the world, as it is created, lived, and dissipated. On the temporary flood plains created by the receding waters of the Ganga and the Yamuna, at the point of their confluence, a miniature world comes up for a couple of months. People from all over the country come here to spend time for various reasons. From curious tourists who want to see the Naga Sadhus to sadhus from different akhadas who come here to fulfil their periodic meeting with the world and with other sadhus, all kinds of people turn up at the Kumbh Mela. It is the longest living cultural tradition of India. The scale may have gone up or down during different phases of history, but it has continued unhindered. Its power lies in the fact that no one owns it, and at the same time, it belongs to everyone. It belongs to the one who turns up to be a part of it. No one invites anyone, and yet, everyone turns up on the banks of the holy rivers on the right date and time. In it, I also saw the power of the panchang, the Indian calendar in full force. Most of us who grow up in urban settings do not even know our birthdays by the panchang, but here, you see half of humanity turning up based on that very panchang. Is it the panchang’s way of saying it still rules this land?