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Ayodhya: The Imageability and Perceptions of Cultural Landscapes


Most of the visitors (pilgrims in the majority) and the dwellers (mostly Hindus) perform some sorts of rituals at varying degrees and become involved in the religious activities to gain solace or soul healing. Of course, as sidetrack visitors also perform other activities of recreation and side-show. However, these are the marginal activities. It is obviously noted that personality of pilgrims and dwellers in the context of economic, social, cultural, job status, and perspective of life, has a direct effect on the nature of environmental sensitivity to its sacred landscapes and mythologies that support and make them alive. Ongoing rituals, continuous performances of Ramalila in the evening, pilgrimages and auspicious glimpses to the divine images, and associated happenings together make the whole are a part of the sacred environment. These are categorised within the frame of responsive perception, testing Kevin Lynch’s scale of imageability represented with the five elements, viz. path, edge, node, district, and landmark. The perceptual survey of dwellers and pilgrims are codified into a composite cognitive map that reflects the generalised images of various behavioural attributes that fit the cultural and natural landscapes of the city; this is similar to other holy cities of north India like Varanasi, Mathura, and Chitrakut.


Ayodhya, cognitive map, dwellers, imageability, perception, pilgrims, the Sarayu river, symbols.



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