1st Edition

Religion, Landscape and Material Culture in Pre-modern South Asia

Edited By Tilottama Mukherjee, Nupur Dasgupta Copyright 2023
    296 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    296 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    This book highlights emerging trends and new themes in South Asian history. It covers issues broadly related to religion, materiality and nature from differing perspectives and methods to offer a kaleidoscopic view of Indian history until the late eighteenth century. The essays in the volume focus on understanding questions of premodern religion, material culture processes and their spatial and environmental contexts through a study of networks of commodities and cultural and religious landscapes. From the early history of coastal regions such as Gujarat and Bengal to material networks of political culture, from temples and their connection with maritime trade to the importance of landscape in influencing temple-building, from regions considered peripheral to mainstream historiography to the development of religious sects, this collection of articles maps the diverse networks and connections across regions and time.

    The volume will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of history, archaeology, museum and heritage studies, religion, especially Hinduism, Sufism and Buddhism, and South Asian studies.


    Tilottama Mukherjee and Nupur Dasgupta


    Part I: Sacred Spaces and Cultural Landscapes

    1. The Archaeology of Sacred Spaces: Re-examining Early Coastal Temples in Gujarat

    Himanshu Prabha Ray

    2. Mathura: Exploring a Complex Associative Cultural Landscape (From 2nd century BCE to 2nd-century CE)

    Indira Banerjee

    3. Perfumes in 16th–18th century India: A ‘Religious-Cultural’ Artefact and the Formation of a Scent-landscape

    Amrita Chattopadhyay

    4. Patronage as Political Proxy: 18th-century State-building and Religious Patronage in Ajmer and Pushkar

    Elizabeth M. Thelen



    Part II: Religious Traditions and Texts

    5. Anthologies of Difference: Situating the Anthologies of Sādhanamālā and Caryāpada in the Sacred Space of Tantric Buddhism

    Ritwik Bagchi

    6. The Transformative Presence of Sufis in Medieval Indian Environment: Anecdotes of Miraculous Conversion and Islamicisation in Chishti Literature from the Delhi Sultanate

    Raziuddin Aquil

    7. Conversion and Translation: Life and Work of Dom Antonio do Rosario

    Deepashree Dutta


    Part III: The Material and the Sacred in Bengal

    8. Settlements of Kasimbazar and Murshidabad, CE 1650–1800

    Gargi Chattopadhyay

    9. Physical Environment, Customary Practices, and the English East India Company Regime: A Narrative of Salt Smuggling in late 18th-century Lower Deltaic Bengal

    Arijita Manna

    10. Rise of Gaudiya Vaishnavism and Evolution of Bengali Platter in 16th to 18th Centuries

    Pritam Goswami

    11. Early Medieval Material Culture of Coastal Bengal with special reference to the site of Kankandighi

    Durga Basu


    Nupur Dasgupta is a Professor of History and has been teaching in the Department of History, Jadavpur University, India, since 1991. Her area of interest is Ancient Indian History and Archaeology and History of Science, Technology & Medicine (Ancient – Modern). She was the recipient of the Charles Wallace Fellowship at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

    Tilottama Mukherjee teaches in the Department of History, Jadavpur University, Kolkata. She holds a PhD. in History from the University of Cambridge. She is the author of Political Culture and Economy in eighteenth-century Bengal: Networks of Exchange, Consumption and Communication and is the co-editor of An Earthly Paradise: Trade, Politics and Culture in Early Modern Bengal.