Lotus in the Stone: Sacred Journeys in Eternal India by Anuradha Goyal is a beautiful well-researched Indic travelogue taking the readers on a pilgrimage, exploring the sacred and eternal in India. It is the story of a journey undertaken across the length and breadth of India to understand the sacred threads tying our land together.
“Stories from India’s past are scattered across her geography, the very same geography that was an integral part of these stories. Through the lived experience, you can see a perfect mapping of these historic stories on the geography where they took place. This pattern is not very apparent till you step out and travel to these places and experience the rootedness of these stories in the places associated with them. Until you visit them, these are mythical places and mythical stories belonging to another space and time. Once you step foot on these lands, you realize that these stories are alive in much the same way we are living and breathing descendants of our ancestors of the same space and time these stories were set in. You see glimpses of long-standing traditions in every aspect of life there—be it the way people dress, the way they speak, or the way they relate to the presiding deity of the land. If my history books gave me disconnected and disoriented bites to chew, my travels joined the pieces together as a single narrative, like a beautiful fabric fluttering in the sky, with a million stories lending their colors to it.”
Anuradha Goyal has catalogued her travels, cultural and spiritual experiences in this book. The author narrates not only the famous stories from Shastras, Puranas, Vedas or Upanishads, but also the relatively unknown stories tying together our holy sites, rivers and temples. Goyal provides in-depth insight into the sacred geographies of India; the traditions, cultural nuances, rituals and festivals. I could feel her passion as she describes the devotion and attachment people have towards their favourite gods and highlights the spiritual practices and beliefs, their historical context and the associated philosophies.
Apart from the spiritual aspect, the author has also highlighted the engineering and architectural aspects of the temples of Bharat. The temples are an engineering marvel to say the least, and Goyal beautifully narrates the different aspects of temple architecture, motifs, styles and stories engraved in stone all over the country.
Reading this book was an enriching experience, as I got to learn so much about the sacred spaces of India. Often we visit temples, perform the pujas and leave. We hardly stay around to explore and appreciate the finer nuances. We rarely listen to the stories of our fellow pilgrims or even put in efforts to understand the underlying strands of our traditions and cultural heritage.
Lotus in the Stone: Sacred Journeys in Eternal India is an informative travelogue and a must read for anyone looking to understand India’s sacred landscape and the spiritual threads connecting us to roots lying deep in the ancient past.
Wordsopedia Rating 5/5
|Title: Lotus in the Stone: Sacred Journeys in Eternal India||Author: Anuradha Goyal|
|Publisher: Garuda Prakashan||Publication date: October 25th 2020|
|Genre: Nonfiction – Travelogue||Format: Paperback|
|ISBN: 9781942426349||No. of Pages: 206|
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About the author
Anuradha is an author, columnist, blogger, and public speaker who works on multiple dimensions of three spaces – Business Innovation, Travel, and Books. She has worked in the Information Technology industry where she led Innovation initiatives, published many papers and a book on innovation, including co-authoring an India Innovates series for CII. She still studies, speaks, and writes about Innovation and occasionally consults in this space, including judging various business ideas contests.
Get in touch with the author on her website.