Assistant professor of urban planning Ashima Krishna examines preservation of historic Hindu temples in India.
Hindu temples constitute a complex architectural typology that has even more complicated cognitive associations in the form of traditional beliefs, rituals, and practices. This building typology is most abundantly found in India, but it is also growing outside the subcontinent, spurred by an increasing Hindu diaspora, making this discussion relevant in contexts far beyond India. This paper, however, examines how preservation policies in India, as well as provisions of the Venice Charter, often create conflict when applied to religious historic structures such as Hindu Temples and lead to struggles of designation, preservation, maintenance, and use. Many non-Judeo Christian religions, such as Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism, account for a significant share of the historic built environment in India, and each of these religions guides the care of its sites according to its particular set of beliefs and practices, including the use and reuse of sites and structures. While the diversity of these faiths deserves a detailed discussion, this paper will focus on places of Hindu worship as a means for facilitating a broader discussion regarding how non-Judeo-Christian sites are impacted by central and state policies in India, as well as the tenets of the Venice Charter. It will also propose to examine what can be done to better serve and preserve them, keeping the religious and cultural cognitions in mind
Department of Urban and Regional Planning, UB
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