About the Book
Surasundaris on the walls of Rani-ki-Vav remind us that sensuality is the doorway to spirituality, that growth and fertility are as important as piety and devotion, that even before we undertake dhyana of the deity in the sanctum or in different parts of the vav we must saturate our mind with the beautiful so that we can attain the state of serenity and purnatva.
Sensually evocative, beautiful from tresses to the toes, with eyes downcast, surasundaris are an expression of unsurpassed grace. They are a reminder that a woman is the most adorned expression of prakriti, that to indulge in it is to affirm our senses and enrich our mind, but the aesthetic journey does not stop there. The contemplative viewer will see the surasundari as a poem and a song, where every limb and every gesture are the lyrics, the texture of the stone is the rhythm, where metaphor is the key that will unlock the many meanings and suggestions.
The stepwell in Patan is perhaps the most admired structure of its kind and is a testament to the imagination and skill of the sthapati and as we walk through its many-tiered pavilion we almost hear the hushed voices of the queen and her retinue that stayed there away from menacing eyes and sweltering heat. Come, tread softly, as you are entering a hallowed space of beauty.
About the Author
Harsha V. Dehejia has a double doctorate, one in medicine and other in ancient Indian culture, both from Mumbai University. He is also a member of the Royal College of Physicians of London, Glasgow and Canada all by examination. He is a practising Physician and Professor of Indian Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. His main interest is in Indian aesthetics.