Banaras Revisited: Scholarly Pilgrimages to the City of Light
The conference focuses on India's religious traditions by looking at religious life in the city of Banaras (Varanasi, Kashi), one of the most important centers of Hinduism. For more than 2500 years, this city on the banks of the Ganges has drawn pilgrims from all over India and is said to be one of the oldest living cities in the world. Its thriving and colorful religious life is a microcosm of South Asian religiosity. As a consequence, Banaras has attracted over the last decades a large number of students and scholars of South Asian religions, who studied and documented the city's religious history and contemporary religiosity. Many of them returned in later years and continued their studies, and/or became "(scholarly) pilgrims" themselves, spellbound by the ever-changing "City of Light."
The scholars participating in the conference have conducted extended periods of fieldwork in Banaras. They are invited to give an overview of the topics they have been working on, elaborate on their theoretical perspectives and methodologies, and reflect on their encounters with the city and its inhabitants.
Venue: Rica Nidelven Hotel, Trondheim
Date: October 7-8, 2011
Organiser: István Keul, Department of Archaeology and Religious Studies, NTNU