This major contribution to the study of urban culture, first published in 1999 as the magnificent photographic book Benares Seen from Within, is now issued in a more accessible format and a reduced price, its text substantially revised.
Though now beset with all the characteristic urban ills of the age, Benares is arguably the oldest living city in the world to retain its original cosmic orientation. A centre of learning since antiquity, its way of life has not essentially changed until the last few years.
Among other themes, Lannoy writes about the metaphysical substructure of the city, the ancient cults of the pillar and the sunwheel, the Buddha, yoga, commerce and weaving, pilgrimage, and extends its survey up to the present, with Hindu-Muslim conflicts, the tension between religion and secularism, and a lively account of the great woman-saint Anandamayi Ma.
Illustrated with many photographs by the author.