Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Ann G. Gold
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Art and Design | Book and Paper | Graphic Design
When I first walked around downtown Madurai, down its narrow and dusty streets that led into more lanes and alleys, I noticed a trend of small street temples that were usually built outside stores and apartment houses. When I asked an older man who sat next to a one of these temples that was modest in size and consisted of a Ganesha, Hindu elephant god statue, he told me that as a Western woman, I shouldn’t waste my time studying these small insignificant temples. He insisted that I focus on the grand and large Meenakshi Temple, which Madurai is famous for in India. This dismissive answer inspired me to find the reason why these temples exist because it was clear that no one else was studying them but due to their popularity in the streets, I understood they had a function of some importance.
Based on my studies abroad in Madurai, I completed research on these temples because they combined my interest in religious studies but also allowed me to explore the daily life of residents of downtown Madurai. Also by focusing my creative eye on the visually engaging small street temples, my research allowed me to incorporate photography into my project. My final Capstone project is a book that I designed that consists of my research and photographs of street temples in Madurai, India.
By turning my ethnographic study about Madurai’s small street temples into a book, my expectation is that my research is both visually engaging but more importantly educational for those interested in how popular Hinduism is practiced in Madurai, India.
Berzins, Elina, "The Small Overlooked Hindu Street Temples of Madurai" (2013). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 10.
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