The Rebirth of Bodh Gaya

Buddhism and the Making of a World Heritage Site

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David Geary
Global South Asia
  • Seattle, WA: 
    University of Washington Press
    , November
     264 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


This multilayered historical ethnography of Bodh Gaya - the place of Buddha's enlightenment in the north Indian state of Bihar - explores the spatial politics surrounding the transformation of the Mahabodhi Temple Complex into a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2002. The rapid change from a small town based on an agricultural economy to an international destination that attracts hundreds of thousands of Buddhist pilgrims and visitors each year has given rise to a series of conflicts that foreground the politics of space and meaning among Bodh Gaya's diverse constituencies.

David Geary examines the modern revival of Buddhism in India, the colonial and postcolonial dynamics surrounding archaeological heritage and sacred space, and the role of tourism and urban development in India.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

David Geary is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. He is the coeditor of Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on a Contested Buddhist Site: Bodh Gaya Jataka.


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