Ardhanārīśvara in Tiruchengode, Tamil Nadu : a case study
There has been a persistent tendency in the study of religion to emphasize its textual and historical elements, at the expense of ritual, practice, and custom. This trend is evident in the available academic works concerning the androgynous Hindu deity, Ardhanārīśvara. Scholarship largely overlooks Ardhanārīśvara in living context, including information about dedicated sites of worship. To attend to this gap, this project explores Ardhanārīśvara in Tiruchengode, Tamil Nadu, as it is home to a hilltop temple wherein Ardhanārīśvara is the presiding deity. An analysis of my fieldwork observations and impressions yields two types of contributions. The first relates to areas of previous scholastic focus; new information is provided on Ardhanārīśvara iconography, mythological narratives, and regarding interpretations of the figure. The second type of contribution involves unexplored content, including information on the aforementioned site of worship and the place of Ardhanārīśvara in ritual within this context. Additionally, the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of this thesis stress understanding observable phenomena as dynamic. This led to astute observations regarding Ardhanārīśvara that also go delineated. These provisions reaffirm the significance of those areas identified as overlooked in the study of religion and provide a more robust treatment of the figure.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
DepartmentReligion and Culture
ProgramReligion and Culture
CommitteeVargo, Lisa; Keyworth, George; Shantz, Susan
Copyright DateMarch 2016
Ardhanārīśvara, Tiruchengode, Hinduism