ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

28 – South Asian sacred spots: Nodal Points in Webs of Connections

Presuming that sacred spots (e.g. temples, shrines, etc.) have been (and still are) of great importance to South Asian religious, social and political life, the panel seeks to address the questions WHY and HOW this happens.

Convenors

Huesken Ute - South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University, Cultural and Religious History of South Asia (Cassical Indology), Heidelberg, Germany
Czerniak-Drożdżowicz Marzenna - Department of Languages and Cultures of India and South Asia, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland
Dębicka-Borek wa - Department of Languages and Cultures of India and South Asia, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland
Buchholz Jonas - South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University, Cultural and Religious History of South Asia (Cassical Indology), Heidelberg, Germany
Nowicka Olga - Department of Languages and Cultures of India and South Asia, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland
Sathyanarayanan Sarma R - École française d'Extrême-Orient, Pondicherry Centre, Pondicherry, India

Long Abstract

Presuming that sacred spots (e.g. temples, shrines, etc.) have been (and still are) of great importance to South Asian religious, social and political life, the panel seeks to address the questions WHY and HOW this happens. The concept of a network seems to be a fruitful way to think about the South Asian religious spaces, in which sacred spots are nodal points, where various relationships intersect. However, does it always work this way, or is it a feature which depends on temporal/physical circumstances? Is it a common rule that this is the biggest sacred spot which produces the largest net of interrelations? Why and how certain spots that lay off a beaten track project their dependence (or influence) on other sites? How the networks get imbued with meanings of connection?

Hoping to open a productive discussion based on inter-, trans- or multidisciplinary tools and theories, we encourage (yet definitely not limit) the contributors to approach the questions of how and why the spaces and spatial relationships are produced in South Asian religious traditions with a thought that such networks reflect meaningful spaces mapped by narratives. Such narratives can be told (e.g. in texts), heard, seen (architecture, iconography), embodied (ritual), sung, and walked (pilgrimages, processions). Often, networks come alive (reconfirming or challenging the previous ones) through the usage of the language of movement between holy sites. However, while the pilgrims and gods move and establish networks/negotiate sacred space, they take with them objects, ideas, and emotions, which leads to the conclusion that it is much more than the deities and pilgrims that move.