LESSON III – RIVERCULTURESRivers have a thousand differentuses which are necessary for lifeand civilisations to develop…what are the most important?
Some of the river’s most important uses include…
But just as the river has many advantages, it alsobrings many problems and dangers, too…
Which is the most famous and important river in India?
What makes a river so „important” to a culture or country?• The size. Larger rivers have access to more areas of a country, and so become more important for trade and industry• The success of the cities which developed on its banks. The reason the Danube is so important in Europe is because many of the cities which were founded on it became important capital cities, and the Danube river is what connects them.• Stories, legends, mythology and religious importance. The river Ganges and the Yamuna in India are certainly important because of this, and we will find out why in a moment. Other such rivers are the Jordan, because Jesus was baptised in it, for example.• Any other reasons?
Think back to the way that we „created” the godof the cave cultures of Bhimbetka….• What, then, might the religion of the river cultures be like? What would their deity or god be like? The culture which grew along the Ganges developed one of the most recognisable religions in the world. What would its origins or beginnings be?• What did these people want/need/fear from the river they lived on?• Would this god be male or female? Why?• What would this god/goddess be responsible for? What would his/her powers be?• How would they be worshipped? What sort of rituals and sacrifices would be offered to them?• What would their icons be?• What might we expect their temples to look like?
The Ganges is not just a river. For millions of people, it is also a Goddess in her entirity, named Ganga Ma, or Mother Ganges
The temples dedicated to Ganga Ma are interesting, and perhaps unexpected in their design Why might they be designed in this way? What does it mean?
Varanasi is perhaps the most famous andarchitecturally significant city on the Ganges Varanasi is found almost exactly in the middle of the Ganges, halfway between its SOURCE in the Himalayas, and its MOUTH in the Bay of Bengal. Why is this important? How would this affect the size of the river and its connection to the way the city was built?
One of the „icons” of the city are the beautiful ghats or buildings with steps leading into the Ganges What are the function of these ghats? What materials must have been used, and what properties are necessary for these materials? Why?
But the city is a mess: overcrowded, polluted and withevery building fighting for a space on the banks of theriver. Why did this happen?
Varanasi is an ancient city, but it is facing anincredible number of problems and difficulties