Tuesday, May 9, 2017

William Dalyrmple & India's Sacred Culture

Studying Hinduism?  Want to understand the sacred culture of India?

You might consider some of the excellent travel articles about India by William Dalyrmple, the prolific travel writer and historian.

Dalrymple's books about India are a terrific resource. I especially like his book, Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India. His chapter in that book about a Jain nun provides a great introduction to Jainism in an engaging way. Dalrymple's travel articles about India for British newspapers like the Guardian and the Telegraph provide wonderful glimpses into different aspects of India's sacred culture.
  • In Journey to the Center of the World, Dalrymple considers the significance of the Ganges River.  Describing the Ganges, one of his sources notes:  "When a Westerner looks at the Ganges he sees only a river. But we Hindus, we see a goddess: something divine that comes down from heaven and brings life to our India."
  • In Treasure Among Tree Trunks,  Dalrymple examines the life of  the 18th-century painter Nainsukh.  He notes that "many of his works are now in the world’s leading museums, but murals influenced by his innovations can still be found on temple walls all over the Himalayan foothills."
  • In Pallava dynasty temples of Tamil Nadu, Dalrymple considers the 8th century Pallava kings who are known "for their brilliance as poets and patrons of the arts as they were for their success on the battlefield.

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