Kashmir: The Land of Kashyapa The Saga of the Kashmiri Pundits
This book fills in a gap in the literature on the cultural history of Kashmir. It provides a glimpse into the oldest living culture of the world, and its origin from the outstanding Rishis. It talks about the contribution of Kashmiri scholars to Buddhism, Shaivism, Sanskrit literature, grammar, aesthetics,astrology, Ayurveda, history, music, dance and temple architecture.
The city of Srinagar, the abode of Pundits, initially built by Emperor Ashoka, and later by King Parversena II, is described beautifully. The way of life observed by the Pundits of Srinagar, including daily visits to Hari Parvat, is very nostalgic.
The book takes us through their elaborate marriage rituals,Mehndirat, singing of Vanvun, dancing of Rouf and performance of Gindangor. Celebration of Navreh to usher in the new-year as well as the festival of Shivaratri is vividly described. The social stratification of society has been finely documented and the origin and description of Gotras and surnames well described. The book takes us to Kheer Bhavani, Amarnath and Sharda Peeth and tells us about great saints such as Lal Ded, Rupa Bhavani, Bhagvan Gopinath and Rich Ded, who were our mainstay during the times of duress.
One gets an authentic introduction to Kashmir Shaivism, its 20th century revival by Swami Laksman Joo in India and abroad. We learn about Kashmir Shaivism being taught in Oxford by Professor Sanderson, a disciple of Swami Ji.