Book Launch: Kashi – The Abode of Shiva

Vijay Rana
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Many experienced photographers have visually documented Varanasi in the past. Interestingly, none of their publications included images of the city’s most revered attraction, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The simple reason is that photography inside most prominent Hindu temples in India is prohibited. "Kashi: The Abode of Shiva," a unique photographic book, breaks this pattern. Through intensive fieldwork and exhaustive research, the author, in a first-of-its-kind endeavor, presents an unprecedented visual journey of one of the most important Hindu shrines—the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. In addition to documenting the temple’s ritualistic and festive activities, the book fosters a distinctive blend of stories intertwining mythology with history, all centered on the city’s presiding deity.

This book significantly contributes to the vibrant celebration of the spirit of Kashi, enriching its ritual and sacred landscape.

Vijay Rana is a journalist, photographer, and filmmaker. He earned his D.Phil. from Allahabad University and joined the BBC Hindi Service in London in 1982, where he rose to become its radio editor. During his long journalistic career, he interviewed many Indian politicians, including eight who became prime ministers of India. He has written extensively for The Indian Express, India Today, BBC Online, The Times of India, and many Hindi newspapers like Dainik Jagran and Dainik Hindustan. In 2012, his contribution to Hindi journalism was honored by the Government of India’s 9th World Hindi Conference, held in Johannesburg, South Africa. Since February 2017, he has been filming Varanasi and recently produced a YouTube documentary called "Banaras: The Story of India’s Sacred City," with its Hindi version titled "Kashi Ki Amar Kahani."

In association with Uttar Pradesh Community Association (UPCA) UK, A social organisation comprising more than 1000 families and working towards promotion of literature and culture of UP in the UK. The group provides a platform to network and build community through the celebration of festivals like Diwali and Holi in UP style and at same time works with state authorities to contribute towards the home state in India. UPCA makes all efforts to promote Hindi language and literature through various events like Kavi Sammelan, Hindi diwas, Ramayan Path and musicals events.