Golden Rāmcharitmānas of Kashi: Re-visioning a Royal Treasure

2024-07-13 17:23:13

Philip Lutgendorf

Golden Rāmcharitmānas of Kashi: Re-visioning a Royal Treasure


October 19, 2023    
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Mazumdar-Shaw auditorium
22, Kasturba Rd, Shanthala Nagar, Ashok Nagar , Bengaluru, Karnataka, 560001
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Tulsidas’ Vision of Hanuman, Rama and Sita, 1812, Group A Artists in Banaras drawing from the visual language of Murshidabad and Awadh, PTG.02202.

Join us for the illustrated lecture by Philip Lutgendorf, Professor Emeritus of Hindi and Modern Indian Studies, University of Iowa, as he explores the genesis and destiny of the magnificent illuminated manuscript created between 1796 and 1814 for the Maharaja of Kashi (Banaras). Through the talk, Philip will delve into the Awadhi retelling of the ancient Ramayana story by the poet-saint Tulsidas (1574 AD); the role of the exhibition curator, the late Dr. Kavita Singh; and the archival staff of the Center for Art and Archaeology of the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) in “illuminating” the meaning and original context of the marvellous, gold-embellished pages of this text; and re-presenting them to a broad audience.

This event has been conceptualised as part of the Book of Gold: The Kanchana Chitra Ramayana of Banaras exhibition. For the first time, this exhibition displays nearly 80 folios from the Kanchana Chitra Ramayana.

Philip Lutgendorf

Chair of Board of Trustees, American Institute of Indian Studies

Philip Lutgendorf taught Hindi and Modern Indian Studies in the University of Iowa’s Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literature for 33 years, retiring in 2018. His book on the performance of the Hindi Ramayana, The Life of a Text (1991) won the A. K. Coomaraswamy Prize of the Association for Asian Studies. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002 – 03 for his research on the popular Hindu deity Hanuman, which appeared in Hanuman’s Tale, The Messages of a Divine Monkey (2007). His interests include epic performance traditions, folklore and popular culture, and mass media. He generated a website devoted to popular cinema, a.k.a. “Bollywood” ( His research on the cultural history of tea drinking in India was supported by a Fulbright-Hays Senior Overseas Research Fellowship (2010 – 2011). He translated the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas as The Epic of Ram, in seven dual-language volumes (2016 – 2023), for the Murty Classical Library of India/Harvard University Press ( ). He served as President of the American Institute of Indian Studies from 2010-2018 and continues serving as Chair of its Board of Trustees (

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