The Akhara: Where Earth Is Turned Into Gold

Joseph S. Alter

in The Wrestler's Body

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 1992 | ISBN: 9780520076976
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520912175 | DOI:
The Akhara: Where Earth Is Turned Into Gold

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This chapter explores the akhara, which is eagerly depicted in animated tones and pointed gestures and, at other times, in hushed, dreamy, relaxed voices, “a world unto itself,” a place set apart from the world of work and family, a peaceful place from which to draw strength. Earth, air, water, and trees are the essential features that give an akhara its aesthetic appeal. The ambiance of an akhara, however, is greater than the sum of these individual parts. Although there are no rules which govern the spatial layout and geomantic ordering of trees relative to earth, air, and water, there is a sense that, together, they must comprise a picturesque, integrated whole. The interdependence of natural elements reinforces a notion of the akhara as self-contained, an aesthetic world unto itself.

Keywords: akhara; world; work; family; earth; air; water; trees; elements

Chapter.  14278 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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