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The Wrestler's BodyIdentity and Ideology in North India$
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Joseph Alter

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780520076976

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520076976.001.0001

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The Akhara: Where Earth Is Turned Into Gold

The Akhara: Where Earth Is Turned Into Gold

(p.26) Chapter 2 The Akhara: Where Earth Is Turned Into Gold
The Wrestler's Body

Joseph S. Alter

University of California Press

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

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