Benares Illustrated by James Prinsep
By O.P. Kejariwal
Published by Viswavidyalaya Prakashan, Varanashi - 2002
For more than 150 years, there was no reprint of this fascinating work. a reprint was brought out in 1996 by the Vishwavidyalaya Prakashan of Benares . Sadly, it was of a very poor quality. The illustrations in that reprint do
not give the reader even a faint idea of the beauty of the original prints. Ten years passed before another
publisher from Benares , Rama Nand of Pilgrims Publishing, approached Dr. Kejariwal with a proposal of doing a
high quality reprint of the book and together they produced the present edition with several important additions.
Of first importance is the fact that these illustrations bring out the magic, the depth and the beauty of the originals.
Then there are other features which make this edition unique:
There is newly collected or discovered material including the Benares Directory, reproduced here in full, which lists
all the important families of Benares in Prinsep’s time. Some of the present generation will probably be able to find
their ancestors included in this Directory.
For this new edition, we revisited some important places in Benares where Prinsep worked and have included those photographs.
Nine Appendices bring out the genius that James Prinsep was. His expertise is displayed in such articles as
“Description of a Pluviameter and Evaporometer Constructed at Benares ” and “Accurate Balances.” The creative
and meticulous Prinsep invented devices so precise as to measure rainfall within .005 inches and the amount of
evaporation within .001 inches! He developed many such tools which were designed with such precision of accuracy
that they have yet to be improved upon.
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