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The spire and dome of a temple at Benares

The spire and dome of a temple at Benares

Artist: Sita Ram (fl. c.1810-1822)

Medium: Watercolour

Date: 1814

Shelfmark: Add.Or.4726

Item number: 4726

Length: 24.6

Width: 35

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Drawing

Watercolour of a temple in Varanasi from 'Views by Seeta Ram from Benares to Nazibghur Vol. III' produced for Lord Moira, afterwards the Marquess of Hastings, by Sita Ram between 1814-15. Marquess of Hastings, the Governor-General of Bengal and the Commander-in-Chief (r. 1813-23), was accompanied by artist Sita Ram (flourished c.1810-22) to illustrate his journey from Calcutta to Delhi between 1814-15.

Varanasi (Benares) situated on the west bank of the Ganges river is one of the holiest cities in Hinduism. The river was said to have descended from heaven to earth, it is regarded by Hindus as amrita, the elixir of life; those who touch the water are said to be absolved of sin. Varanasi, founded in the sixth century BC is one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus and is known as a tirtha, or ‘crossing place’ which allows the devotee access to the divine and where gods and goddesses can come down to earth. Varanasi has several hundred beautiful temples.

This idealised view shows the spire and dome of a temple at Varanasi seen over the courtyard wall, with a large gateway and multi-storeyed house beside it. Inscribed below: 'Another view of the Temple of Mohadeo and suburbs of Benares to the west.'

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