By focusing on contemporary popular religious traditions, the book represents a substantial contribution to the study of modern religious practices in Banaras, holy city of India. This book offers in-depth, ethnographic views of many contemporary popular religious practices that have, for the most part, received little attention by scholars. Topics covered include the Ramlila celebrations, devotion to Hanuman, and goddess worship, and the way that Banarsi Boli, the local dialect of Banaras, supports its users in their identification with the sacred city.
Bradley R. Hertel is Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Cynthia Ann Humes is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Claremont McKenna College.
"The book builds upon previous work about the importance of Banaras; it adds to our empirical understanding of society and culture in India; and it provides one of the best examples I have seen of fieldwork based research where different individual scholars, commenting from various perspectives, achieve a holistic, comprehensive result. " — Charles R. Brooks, John Jay College, City University of New York