Benoy K. Behl is arguably a person who has done more than anyone else to document the Hindu and Buddhist art and temple architecture of India and Asia. A filmmaker, art historian and photographer working primarily for Doordarshan, India’s largest broadcasting company, Behl has taken more than 40,000 photographs and made more than 100 documentaries, all without becoming well known on YouTube. Amazingly, his channel, which contains a rich repository of documentaries filmed around the globe, has just under 1,000 subscribers.
While mostly making religious and cultural films, Behl is also mentioned by Limca Book of Records as the most traveled photographer to document Indian art influences across the world, estimating that he logged over 400,000 miles between 2001 and 2015 while documenting the art and sculpture of India and Asia.
You can find trailers and excerpts of Behl’s work at his YouTube channel,
www.youtube.com/user/buddhistfilms, His Spectacular India documentary comprises about twenty 8-minute clips. It was this production that caught the attention of Hinduism Today. Notable clips from the Spectacular India series are shown in the filmstrip above, left to right. Episode 23 is titled The Glorious Temples of Karnataka. Benoy showcases a selection of Karnataka’s ancient temples, from the 6th century Badami shrines and onward. This video covers the sites of Pattadakal, Belur, Halebid and others.
Episode 14 features Durga, the most popular God in Kolkata, and Her festival. Episode 11, far right, shows Behl with the Baul singers of Bengal. They are God-intoxicated singers performing in forests and traveling in a caravanserai, singing the names of God spontaneously with supreme devotion. Behl’s Yoga: An Ancient Vision of Life contains interviews with B.K.S. Iyengar and others who explain yoga’s spiritual and philosophical nature. Behl also authored The Ajanta Caves: Ancient Paintings of Buddhist India, and has lectured extensively on the history of Indian art.
This extraordinary man makes his home in New Delhi, the city of his birth.