The Sacred Waters ‘of’ Varanasi : The Colonial Draining and Heritage Ecology book cover
1st Edition

The Sacred Waters ‘of’ Varanasi
The Colonial Draining and Heritage Ecology

  • Available for pre-order on June 22, 2023. Item will ship after July 13, 2023
ISBN 9781032523118
July 13, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
192 Pages

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USD $170.00

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Book Description

This book on urban water bodies, catchment areas and drainage pattern is set against the backdrop of the unprecedented heavy rainfall that severely deluged metropolitan cities and other parts of India in recent years.

It discusses how the processes and implementation of colonial urban development policies and projects have radically transformed the water bodies and their catchment areas – traditional water holding systems of Varanasi city. In this imperative colonial process, through the case study of Varanasi, the book mainly engages with the reasons behind the elimination of the temple tanks and ponds after the annexation of Varanasi by the British from 1775 till 1947. The book investigates the colonial notion of ‘dry city’, and how this notion crafted the process of separating land and water bodies, which arguably resulted in the reclamation and draining of water bodies, and also gave rise to water pollution. Additionally, the book analyzes the elimination of water bodies and loss of catchment areas through the ongoing processes of restoring the ancient city’s natural and cultural heritage.

Print edition not for sale in South Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Bhutan)

Table of Contents

Figures and Tables



1. City of Waters

2. The Tale of Two Maps

3. Draining the Wet City

4. Debating Heritage Ecologies





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Mahesh Gogate is affiliated researcher at Kyoto University, Japan, studying the dynamic and fluid topography of Varanasi city, India. Before academia, he worked in software industry, and also spent many years working as a research associate.