The multi-religious landscape of Odisha is striking, with the present city of Bhubaneswar and its encircling hills providing evidence for the presence of shrines and images associated with Buddhism, Jainism as well as Hinduism, though their relative concentration varied over time. I this book, the focus is on various aspects of architecture related to Buddhism. One of the issues that the survey of religious architecture presented here raises is the extent t o which Buddhist monastic architecture was a reflection of the practice of the religion within a regional cultural milieu. More importantly, the book addresses the complex issue of preservation of the Buddhist heritage keeping in view demands of urban planning and development on the one hand and the pressures of tourism on the other. Is the value of Buddhist heritage only to be weighed against the present benefits of commercial exploitation?
The objective of the book will be to aid in the integration of the needs of archaeology and heritage in Odisha with tourism and future urban planning.
After teaching for more than three decades at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi., Himanshu Prabha Ray is at present Chairperson, National Monuments Authority, New Delhi. Two recent volumes edited by her include Satish Chandra and Himanshu Prabha Ray edited, The Sea, Identity and History: From the Bay of Bengal to the South China Sea, Manohar Publishers, 2013; and Patrick Olivelle, Janice Leoshko and Himanshu Prabha Ray edited, Reimagining Asoka: Memory and History, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2012.
It is an honour to write for the National Monuments Authority (NMA) under the Ministry of Culture, which came into existence as a result of an Act of Parliament-the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains AASR (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010 enacted in March, 2010. NMA started functioning in November 2011 and I joined the organization in September 2012. A new initiative that the Act proposed was the regulation of a 300 meter area round the nearly 3700 centrally protected monuments. The Act entrusted NMA with overseeing the bye-laws that would regulate this development and introduced the term heritage in the making of bye-laws. In my view it is important that we make a clear distinction between heritage and archaeology and then develop strategies for bringing the two together. It is this larger agenda that the book attempts to address.
The book draws on research conducted by me, over the last several years, on the history and archaeology of Buddhism in the subcontinent, with special reference to Odisha. This research has benefitted through support from several scholars and institutions, especially the Archaeological Survey of India and the Jawaharlal Nehru University. I am thankful to Prof. A. K. Pattanayak, Vice Chancellor, Utkal University of Culture, Prof. K.K. Basa, Department of Antropology, Utkal, University and Dr. Sunil Kumar Patnaik, Secretary, Orissasn Institute of Maritime and South-east Asian Studies, Bhubaneswar for the invitation to participate in the International Conference on ‘Buddhist Heritage of Odisha: Situating Odisha in the Global Perspective’ held at Udayagiri from 1st to 3rd February, 2013.
Language & Literature (442)
Sacred Sites (102)
Tantric Buddhism (84)
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