Maṭhas: Entangled Histories of a Religio-Political Institution in South India

April 17, 2015 - 9:30am
Social Sciences Building Room 206

The matha (often translated as “monastery”) is an enduring institution in the religio-political landscape of South Asia. Spanning Hindu and Jain traditions, the matha has been and continues to be a central organizing and animating factor of both lay and monastic religious life in India. In the medieval and early modern period mathas were dynamic sites of interaction between polities, monastics, lay practitioners, competing sectarian communities, and even inter-religious engagement. The papers that comprise this panel consider the contributions, interactions and, in some way, the co-development of the matha by Jain and Hindu communities during this period.


Leslie Orr, Concordia University:

Mathas in the history of southernmost India: Temple, guru, god and patron in the 14th to 17th centuries

Valerie Stoker, Wright State University:

An Empire in South India: Diversity, Mobility, Change

Elaine Fisher, University of Wisconsin:

“Just Like Kalidasa”: Monasteries and Sectarian Communities in Early Modern South India

Sarah Pierce Taylor, University of Pennsylvania:

“Sovereigns Whose Feet Were Worshipped by Kings”: The Jain Matha and the Rhetoric of Empire

Caleb Simmons, University of Arizona:

Curious Penpals: An Examination of the Role of Mathas in Tipu Sultan’s Letters to the Jagadguru of Sringeri

Suggested Parking: 

Second Street Garage