Event — IIAS Lunch Lecture

The Śākadvīpīya Brāhmaṇas and Their Customs

Lunch lecture by Martina Palladino, IIAS Research Fellow with a fellowship from the J. Gonda Foundation of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

The lecture takes place in the IIAS conference room from 11:00-12:00 Amsterdam Time (CET). 

The Lecture

Martina Palladino will explore the Śākadvīpīya Brāhmaṇas’ peculiar customs and practices on the basis of ancient texts and contemporary testimonies. The Śākadvīpīyas are Hindu sun worshippers still settled in North India, who claim to have moved from Iranian lands in ancient times.

The appearance and religious practices of the two groups of Śākadvīpīyas, namely the Magas and the Bhojakas, are described in detail in some sections of the Sāmba- and Bhaviṣya-purāṇa. Their customs include Hindu and Zoroastrian elements, and therefore, they embody a synthesis of two different traditions. In spite of this, they have succeeded in reaching the highest social status of brahmins in India. Their prestige was based on being foreigners with peculiar practices; in this way, they gained recognition in the courts of North India and had dedicated sections in the Purāṇas.

Nowadays, the Śākadvīpīya communities are mainly settled in Rājasthān and Bihār. Some of their peculiar practices are still adopted with some differences between the two states. A focus on the contemporary cult will build a bridge between the ancient texts and the current practices, pointing to the Śākadvīpīyas’ perception of their own tradition and literature. 

The Speaker

Martina Palladino is a Gonda fellow at IIAS. In 2022, she was awarded a Ph.D. at SOAS University of London with a study on the Sanskrit version of the Zoroastrian Yasna liturgy. Her research topic at IIAS resumes the work on the Śākadvīpīya Brāhmaṇas she carried out during her first Ph.D. at the University of Bologna, Italy. Her main research topic includes the linguistic, cultural and religious contacts between India and Iran. She is mostly interested in Indo-Iranian philology, religious syncretism and the diverse Sanskrit literary production. 


Registration is required as seating is limited. Please use the form on this page. We will serve a warm lunch to attendees who have registered by Monday, 27 February.

Please note this is a live session only. The session will not be streamed or recorded.