The sacred landscape of Braj, India: Imagined, enacted, and reclaimed

Amita Sinha

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    The cultural heritage of the sacred Braj region in Northern India is assessed within the framework of phenomenology of place experience in ritual enactments involving visual and haptic engagement with the landscape. The imagined landscape of Braj consists of visualization at the site of imagery centered on the Hindu god Krishna, influenced by representations of the deity in texts, paintings, and popular culture. The experience is enacted via circumambulation wherein places are inscribed in the body in movement and at rest. Two sacred sites in Braj with a significant role in Krishna mythology-Govardhan Hill and Yamuna River-are studied as imagined and enacted landscapes. The environmental degradation caused by disappearing wetlands, neglected water bodies and denuded forest cover is leading to a physical, mental, and spiritual disengagement with the cultural landscape and loss of place-based collective memories. The proposed remediation approach seeks to promote environmental values through restoration of water bodies and groves on the Yamuna Riverfront and Govardhan Hill.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)59-75
    Number of pages17
    JournalLandscape Journal
    Volume33
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2014

    Keywords

    • Cultural heritage
    • Enactment
    • Hinduism
    • India
    • Pilgrimage
    • Place phenomenology
    • Sacred landscapes
    • Visualization

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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