Please note that the conference has been postponed to 5 April (Conference in hybrid mode from the BULAC) – Séminaire “Mondes indiens” – Saarthak Singh

About the conference

Inscriptions de pèlerins à l'intérieur du temple à Udaypur, Madhya Pradesh, Inde. Credit photo graphique : Saarthak Singh

Légende : L’entrée sud du temple de Śiva, gravé par des inscriptions de pèlerins. Crédit photo : Saarthak Singh.

Please note that the conference has been postponed to 5 April. Conference in hybrid mode.

Name of speaker: Saarthak Singh, PdD student in art history at New York University and visiting doctoral researcher at the EPHE.

Conference title: “Pilgrimage and Procession in a Shared Sacred Space: Inscriptions from Udaypur in Medieval Malwa”

Abstract: At Udaypur in modern-day Madhya Pradesh, a major Śiva temple founded in 1080 stands as the only surviving imperial monument of the Paramāra kingdom of Malwa (972-1305). Remarkably, a congregational mosque built here in 1338 under the Sultanate of Delhi (1206-1526) is situated on the same platform, directly attached to the temple’s śikhara. A series of inscriptions on the temple walls reveal that the temple and the mosque continued to operate side-by-side under Muslim rule during the 14ᵗʰ-15ᵗʰ centuries. This new epigraphic evidence will be presented for the first time. Written in colloquial Sanskrit, the records give a precise date on which pilgrims participated in the festival procession of the temple deity, using the generic term yātrā—in its vernacular form jātrā—to designate both the god’s procession and the pilgrim’s journey. A variety of sources show that yātrās were highly public performances that involved flag-raising, image processions, music, dancing and drama, and thus punctuated the festival calendar of urban temples in the 10ᵗʰ-13ᵗʰ centuries. The very act of recording this event on temple walls was no less public and performative, but such inscriptions are rarely considered beyond their documentary value in terms of commemoration. Reading these inscriptions in their architectural context thus allows us to develop a richer understanding of temple processions and the epigraphic practices of pilgrims in northern India, especially when much of the discussion on this subject has focused on Tamil temples of the Chola period. The evidence for the continuity of such temple jātrās at Udaypur and their memorialisation under Sultanate rule—a period usually represented in academic and popular discourse as a rupture in the familiar sacred landscape—shall allow for a broader discussion about the dynamic construction of Hindu-Muslim identities through ritual movement in discrete yet adjacent spaces of worship.

Practical information

 Temple et la mosquée d'Udaypur, Madhya Pradesh, Inde. Crédit photo : Saarthak Singh

Légende : Le temple de Śiva à Udaypur, Madhya Pradesh, Inde, fondé en 1080. Crédit photo : Saarthak Singh.

Date: the conference has been postponed to 5 April, 11am-12:30pm

Conference in hybrid mode from the BULAC. No formal registration is required at the Bulac, you will only have to report to the reception desk on the ground floor to have access to the library, on an exceptional basis, to follow the conference.

Location: BULAC, 65 Rue des Grands Moulins, 75013 Paris.
Room: training room RJ 23, garden level.

Zoom link: (Meeting ID: 915 6118 5032)


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