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India: A Sacred Geography by Diana L. Eck

India: A Sacred Geography by Diana L. Eck
  • On sale: January 1, 1970
  • Price: $
  • ISBN: 9780385531900
Contact: Catherine Cullen

“Cogent and erudite, this carefully crafted investigation is replete with accounts of myths modern and ancient. . . . An important addition to the study of religion, comparative cultures, and politics, the book should also serve intellectually adventurous readers as a “thick descriptive” travel guide.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Eck’s perseverance illuminates one of the world’s most mysterious and multifaceted countries.” Kirkus Reviews

Masterfully weaving legend and reality, mysticism and modernity, INDIA: A Sacred Geography (Harmony: March 27, 2012) is an extraordinary trip through the sacred places and spaces of India. Through an on-the-ground pilgrimage, Harvard professor Diana L. Eck traces the complex history of India and how Hinduism influenced and shaped the country’s spiritual and physical landscape.

India looms large in the cultural imagination. The Western world has been fascinated by India since the age of the Beatles and has delved deeper into the fantasy of the country made manifest in Slumdog Millionaire; Eat, Pray, Love; and the proliferation of yoga studios. But India is an entity far more vast than its extensive impact on popular culture.

For ten years, Eck traveled and studied in India, tracing the ancient pilgrimage routes that traverse the country. INDIA is the history and mythology of the nation, told from a geographical perspective. The book explores the sacred places and spaces of India, taking the reader along on Eck’s extraordinary trip, investigating the interconnected relationship between place and identity.

The history of India is inseparable from the history of Hinduism, and INDIA provides an essential introduction into the basics of Hindu ideals and how those tenets have shaped the modern Indian subcontinent. Eck’s religious expertise illuminates the book in a way that is accessible to both an academic and a layperson. As the world’s second most populous country, India has emerged as a central global influence: politically, religiously, and culturally. Western interest in the East has never been stronger, and INDIA is an invaluable resource in understanding the origins of the modern world order.

This far-reaching exploration of the country, written by an internationally respected scholar and a preeminent voice in the field of Indian studies, is an incisive and definitive portrait of the dense multi-layered landscape—figurative and literal—that has inspired so many Indian pilgrimages.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, INDIA is an unusual story, uniquely told, and Eck’s admiration and love for the country shines through on every page.


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DIANA L. ECK is a professor of comparative religion and Indian studies at Harvard University and is master of Lowell House and director of the Pluralism Project. Her book Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras won the prestigious Grawemeyer Book Award. In 1998, President Clinton awarded her the National Humanities Medal for the work of the Pluralism Project in the investigation of America’s religious diversity.

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