Strengthening Spatial Dimensions of Landscape and Culture: Case of Nashik, Maharashtra

Author: Chinmayi Marathe | KRVIA – Post Graduate Program | 2021

Relationships between humankind and nature can be determined as the very substance of and conditions for human survival. But, at the same time, humans interpret and construct relationships between themselves, nature and culture. As to understanding, how culture shapes our values and how values shape the world we live in, how culture and values determine our relationship with nature and what new cultural narratives are needed to understand the sense of a place.

Mythology and folklores refers to the sacred tales and fables of various cultures that deal with numerous aspects of human life. Mythology has contended a major role in shaping the customs of civilizations round the world. Though myths are usually related to non-secular and sacred beliefs, nevertheless they’re not simply restricted to them. In past, myths fashioned a binding social component that urged the members of their society to join forces. These myths were thus very crucial for the survival of the community and were usually given a physical manifestation within the style of art and design.

Folklores and myths that live and work inside mainstream society portrayals and the mass interchanges media uncover important experiences into the manner by which individuals are moulded to communicate with the social world. These myths require basic consideration, and comprehensions of contemporary fantasies myths to be set up, as myths, being occupants of the famous broad communications are decoded on a close to consistent premise by individuals.

The old cores of cities still retain the vibrant networks and cultural vibrancy in their user space networks. Pilgrim towns have added the dimension of the myth and venerated which govern their development of space of use. Cultural landscapes have been developed and shaped by the people around them. The beliefs of the people are not just reflected in the built forms but are also evident in the landscape surrounding them. Thus it becomes important to understand how spaces are the manifestation of societal myth and belief, as people are interconnected with sacred spaces.

Nashik is one such case which based in the Triambak hills, forming one natural setting to base the mythology of the city in. It is one of the four sites for the Kumbh Mela deeply rooted in mythology of it being visited by Rama on his way to Lanka. Thus it became a venerated spot over time with factual and mythological associations and eventually being called the Varanasi of the south. River Godavari elevated to the status of holy river Ganga, thus the riverfront and surrounding precinct serve to the sanctify the sacredness of the city. Tucked away between the 9 peaks of the Deccan Plateau, this city holds great historical, mythological, cultural, and social significance in India. The combination of indigenous and religious culture makes Nashik a rich territory where multiple cultural resources interact. Ecology of Godavari and the 9 teks in the historic core are significant aspects to majorly focus upon as it contributes to the religious identification of the city.

So the thesis aims to study the relationship between human, nature and culture through folklores and mythologies to understand their influence on the spatial organization of the historic city of Nashik to develop an appropriate strategy for conservation linked to urban development to retain the landscape of various values.

Text & Image Credit: Chinmayi Marathe | Krvia – Post Graduate Program | Urban Conservation

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