Department of Asian Studies
Department of Asian Studies

Workshop on Navarātri, Navarātra and Durgāpūjā in South Asia and beyond

Thu, November 17, 2016 | Meyerson Conference Room (WCH 4.118)

1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Photo by Ute Hüsken
Photo by Ute Hüsken

Today a festival called alternatively Navarātri / Navarātra / Durgāpūjā / Dusshera / Dassain is celebrated all over South Asia, often with great fervor and massive public participation. The festival lasts for nine nights and ends with a celebration called Vijayadaśami ("the tenth (day) of victory"). We find such Navarātri celebrations all over South Asia and worldwide, wherever South Asians settle. While in some traditions several Navarātris are celebrated, the most widely known and publicly celebrated Navarātri festival takes place in the month of Āśvina (September-October).

On November 17 and 18, a working group that grew out of a collaboration grant between UT Austin and the University of Oslo will meet for a workshop at UT Austin to present their research on the Navarātri festival. 

November 17, 1:00PM - 5:00PM and November 18, 10:00AM - 2:00PM
Location: Meyerson Conference Room (WCH 4.118)

SCHEDULE for November 17, 1:00PM - 5:00PM:

  • Vasudha Narayanan & Ute Hüsken: Introduction

Session 1: The Festival as Agent of Transformation

  • Hillary Rodrigues (Lethbridge): Ritual of revitalization: The transformative power of the Bengali Durgā Pūjā
  • Vasudha Narayanan (Gainesville): Transformation or just Trends? Changes in kolu Traditions

3–3:15   Coffee/tea break

Session 2: Ritual Propriety vs. Creativity

  • Deeksha Sivakumar (Atlanta): “Her kolu is better than mine …”: Copying and coping strategies to keep a good Pommai Kolu
  • Bharti Sarma (Oslo): From rituals to celebrations
  • Ute Hüsken (Oslo): Limits of Creativity: Kolu in vaiṣṇava houses in Kāñcipuram

For abstracts on each presentation, and more information on the workshops, please visit


Sponsored by: Sponsored by: South Asia Institute, Department of Asian Studies, and the UT-Oslo Collaboration Grant

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