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Article

Besakih  

D. J. Stuart-Fox

Balinese Hindu temple (pura) complex. It is situated on the south-western flank of the volcano Gunung Agung, Bali’s highest mountain, in the north-east of the island. Associated probably since prehistoric times with the Lord of the Mountain, now identified with the Hindu god Shiva, it has been a dynastic temple of several royal families since at least the 15th century. The complex consists of 22 temples, spread along three parallel ridges over a distance of more than a kilometre. The complex was not planned as an entity but seems to have been constructed piecemeal, and the overall structure that links the temples is more ritual and symbolic than physical. The annual cycle of more than 70 rituals culminates in the enormous centennial Ekadasa Rudra ceremony....

Article

Hemis  

W. A. P. Marr

Buddhist monastery c. 45 km south-east of Leh in Ladakh, India. Founded by King Senge Namgyel in the 17th century, Hemis became the leading monastery in the region of the Tibetan Drukpa sect. Its buildings comprise chortens (stupas), mani walls, monastic dwellings and a large rectangular courtyard used for the annual monastic dance ceremony. This court is surrounded by a balcony with a throne used by the head lama on such occasions; small paintings of saintly figures appear on the rear wall of the balcony. Within the court are four tall poles decked with prayer flags and yak tails. On the right-hand side are two large temples, the Dukhang and the Chökhang; each is two storeys high and preceded by a wooden verandah containing Tibetan-style paintings of protector deities....

Article

Sheila S. Blair, Jonathan M. Bloom and R. Nath

Dynasty of Central Asian origin that ruled portions of the Indian subcontinent from 1526 to 1857.

The dynasty’s name Mughal derives from the word Mongol, as the founder (1) Babur (‘tiger’) was a Chaghatay prince in Central Asia who was descended on his father’s side from the Mongol warlord Timur (...

Article

M. A. Claringbull

Sacred city and pilgrimage centre on the banks of the Ganga River between the Barna, or Varuna, and Asi rivers in Uttar Pradesh, India. It is the most holy of the seven sacred cities of Hinduism (the others being Ayodhya, Mathura, Hardwar, Kanchipuram, Ujjain and Dwarka) and has been the focus of Brahmanical learning and religious ...