This book is the first detailed study on Panchakroshi and its associated inner sanctum, the Antargrha Yatra.
Assuming itself as the centre of the cosmos, Kashi (Varanasi, Banaras) has preserved up to date its mandlalic system, which is experienced and revived by millions of devout Hindus through pilgrimage. At least since the fifteenth century, devotees continuously perform pilgrimage on these two circuits. The oral and mythological traditions of pilgrimage are narrated with a combination of historical, experiential, cultural, statistical, spatial and Indological perspectives.
The 108 shrines on the route are described with the help of many maps and illustrations. The topics covered include the background of the archetypal nature of pilgrimage, the cosmic mandalas and the circulatory paths, the historical background of the Panchakroshi Yatra and its contextual growth, the context of cardinality, the impact of change, the pilgrimage-cognitive maps, sacred territory and sacred time, religious experiences, the Panchakroshi Temple, the dharmashalas, the characteristics of pilgrims, the circuit of the inner sanctum, the ecology of place and the Improvement Plan. Finally, the book includes an exhaustive bibliography, followed by appendices giving information on shrines, temples, yatras, etc.