Imagining the Urban

Sanskrit and the City in Early India

Shonaleeka Kaul


5.5 x 8.5 inches, 278pp. March 2011

ISBN : 9781906497811

Rs  0.00 (HB)
$0.00 (HB)
£35.00 (HB)

Buy (HB)

In Imagining the Urban, Shonaleeka Kaul turns to Sanskrit literature to discover the characteristics—both physical and social—of ancient Indian cities. Kaul examines nearly a thousand years of Sanskrit kāvyas to see what India’s early historic cities were like as living, lived-in, entities—and discovers that the cities were vibrant and teeming with variety and life.


As much about Sanskrit literature as about urban spaces—insofar as that literature reveals significant aspects of the Indian urban past—Imagining the Urban shows that Sanskrit literature is a rich source for historical understanding. Advocating the  kāvyas as an important historical source, Kaul provides a fresh view of the early city, showing distinctive ways of thought and behavior that relate to tradition, morality, and authority.


With its provocative new questions about early Indian cities and ancient Indian texts, this book will be an essential read for scholars of urban history, Sanskrit writings, and South Asian antiquity.

Shonaleeka Kaul teaches history at Miranda House, University of Delhi. She was at Jawaharlal Nehru University for her PhD and has been a visiting fellow at Yale.


Social Studies
Culture Studies
Cultural Anthropology