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Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

heidICON-Pool 'EXC Sontheimer'

Pool name “EXC Sontheimer” (Exzellenzcluster “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”)
Institution Cluster Asia and Europe
Südasien-Institut der Universität Heidelberg
Im Neuenheimer Feld 330
D-69120 Heidelberg
Content “EXC Sontheimer“ contains the slides made by professor Günther-Dietz Sontheimer during his research in the years 1958 to 1992. Sontheimer, who worked at the South Asia Institute since 1965, died suddenly on 2 June 1992. He left behind a vast and invaluable collection of photos of Hindu deities and cults, temples and shrines, religious practices and life circumstances of people mainly in Maharashtra, but also in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat. Four main research subjects are reflected in the extent and intensity of his image documents:
  1. Origin and development of local cults, and the position of folk religion within Hinduism; in particular the god Khandoba in his principle centre of cult Jejuri, and in other places,
  2. Origin, culture and religious life of pastoralist nomads on the Deccan, especially of the semi-nomadic Dhangars.
  3. History, importance and religious context of hero stones, found in great number in his research field.
  4. Customs and religious traditions of the tribal population of Bastar District in Central India.

List of publications

Characteristics / specifics The majority of the slides has received brief information about the place and date of recording, also the name of the revered deity, the celebrated festival and, in some cases, information on the timing of the festival in the southern Indian lunar calendar. Since the pre-labelling of slides was very rudimentary, the information must be regarded as provisional. Additional detailed information on cult objects, religious practices, worship, temple details, ethnic groups, etc., and to some extent, Sanskrit, Marathi and other regional linguistic terms are added.
Search tips You may mainly search for locations, names of deities, festivals and annual figures. Combining terms is possible. For a survey of the whole collection and detailed search for locations and deities see:
Quantity 23615 image records
Access World-wide via guest access
Contact Edeltraud Bienek, E-Mail:
Sonja Stark-Wild, E-Mail:

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