Event — UKNA - Urban Asia presentation series

Producing and Mapping of Sacred City Varanasi, India

A Lunch Lecture by Mahesh Madhav Gogate, affiliated researcher at Kyoto University, Japan, in the framework of the UKNA-Urban Asia presentation series.

We will serve lunch to registered attendees. Register by 8 January to reserve a seat and lunch.

Everyone is welcome!

Please note that this lecture takes place at the IIAS in Leiden and not online.

The Lecture

This presentation explores the contrast between European cartography notions and practices and the Indian way of understanding space and its distinct representational approaches. The presentation briefly introduces the spatial texts of Purāṇa-s and other Hindu literary texts and how these texts subtly influenced the process of producing 'pictorial maps' of the sacred city of Varanasi, India. In this process, the indigenous pictorial maps are juxtaposed with the European scientific topographical maps primarily produced by colonial scholars and officers. Amongst these topographical, the 1822 map created by East India Company officer and scholar James Prinsep was referred to as the city's first 'accurate' topographical map. This map subtly reveals the land and water separation and distinguishes the dry and wet attributes of the fluid geography. In contrast to European topographical maps, the indigenous' pictorial maps' show the continuum between water and land. The anonymous map makers hint toward Varanasi's sacred landscape, which is not static but dominated by flowing water.

The Speaker

Mahesh Madhav Gogate (PhD) is an affiliated researcher at Kyoto University, Japan, studying the sacred and fluid geography of Varanasi city, India. His research focuses on the transformation of sacred water heritage sites and urban water management.


We will serve lunch to registered attendees. Please register via the form on this page.