Building a "Modern" Temple Town: Architecture and Patronage in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Banaras


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


History of Art


This project focuses on the architecture and patronage of Hindu temples in Banaras, and their roles in shaping the historiography of Indian art. The city of Banaras is often extolled as an ancient Hindu pilgrimage center. Contrary to its ancient reputation, however, most of these temples are the product of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Banaras was a recipient of widespread temple patronage in this period by patrons of diverse political interests and different levels of local, regional, and national power. This dissertation examines how the political structure of Banaras and the positions of the patrons play into the patterns of temple patronage, and how the exchange of artistic traditions and complex political and religious aspirations were expressed through the use of diverse temple styles.