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New Book on Pashupati Area by Axel Michaels

May 24, 2017

Prof. Axel Michaels, Acting Director of the Cluster "Asia and Europe", and Dr. Govinda Tandon published a book titled "Paśupatikṣetra – A Historical Inventory" with Himal Books. The volume is a revised version of the supplement to Axel Michaels’ book "Die Reisen der Götter: Der nepalische Pashupatinatha-Tempel und sein rituelles Umfeld" published in 1994.

The book features the fieldwork by Axel Michaels in the periods between 1982 and today, that has been greatly supported by Govinda Tandon during this time. It includes numerous maps and photos that present the spatial situation of the early 1990s in the Pashupati Area, providing a view on the recent developments and changes in this area in the past decades. However, the basic structures and monuments remained almost the same so that the reader can still use the book to identify temples, shrines and other holy places. The book tries to preserve the atmosphere of the Pashupati area of that time. Besides this, the authors added more historical images to the maps as well as some remarks on the renovations and alterations that took place during the past 25 years.

The recent changes in the Pashupati Area have to do with a concept that goes back to the 1970s, when some social activist and influential person of Nepal felt that population pressures had created a situation in the Pashupati area that threatened the authenticity, appearance and dignity of the site and its vicinity. In response to these ideas, they developed an agenda to improve the site and proposed it to the royal government in order to protect, conserve and develop the Pashupati area as well as to declare it a cultural heritage site of national and international importance. And in fact in 1979, during the Third Conference of the World Heritage Committee in Luxor (Egypt), the Pashupati Monument Zone, along with six other sites, in Nepal was declared a World Heritage Monument Site by UNESCO.

The volume was published with Himal Books, Kathmandu.

Prof. Axel Michaels is Acting Director of the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe" and Senior Professor of Classical Indology at the South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University.

Dr. Govinda Tandon is a Nepali heritage and culture expert and animal rights advocate.


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