Mo, 16.09.2024 – 28.09.2024

Summer Academy of art, culture and history across the Himalayas

EurAsia Summer Academy Kathmandu


This Summer Academy offers a research-based rigorous philological training program for exploring Sanskrit manuscripts and epigraphical material preserved in Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley. By combining text readings with field visits, the program provides the framework to connect premodern cultural and religious knowledge from text sources with sacred sites and extant in situ artefacts. In particular, the focus will be on selected texts that speak to the rituals and iconographical schemes relating to Buddhist, Śaiva, Vaiṣṇava and Śākta deities (and their respective multiple identities) and on associated sacred sites and communities. The modules are thus designed to explore topics of Himalayan religious cultures, such as the characteristic interplay between interreligious connectivities and exclusive means of religious identification, processes that are shaped by the Kathmandu Valley’s position as a major conduit of communication between the Subcontinent and the Tibetan Plateau. The Summer Academy thereby offers participants the opportunity to advance language skills and to explore the past in the present through the material remains and the cultural legacy in present local Newar Buddhist and Hindu, as well as Tibetan communities.

The Summer Academy features four modules:

Module 1The Avalokiteśvara Cult in the Kathmandu Valley: Excerpts from the Buddhist Bhugmalokeśvarasādhana (Skt+Tib)
 Teachers: Diwakar Acharya, Luo Hong, Nina Mirnig
Module 2Early Vaiṣṇava Religious Culture: Excerpts from the Vaiṣṇavadharmaśāstra
 Teacher: Marion Rastelli
Module 3History and Culture of the early Licchavis: Mānadeva’s Changu Narayan Pillar inscription of 464 CE
 Teachers: Diwakar Acharya, Nina Mirnig
Module 4Early Medieval Tantric iconography: Malla-period Stotras and Dhyānas of Tantric Śākta deities
 Teacher: Pongsit Pangsrivongse

The program will include the following field visits for exploring the historical context and extant intangible cultural features and living traditions connected to the texts under study:

(1) Patan, including a visit to a metal-casting workshop
(2) Bhaktapur and Changu Narayan Temple
(3) Pashupatinath heritage zone
(4) Principal Lokeśvara temples of the Valley
(5) National Archives, Kathmandu

Course requirements: Graduate/advanced undergraduate level of Sanskrit with some familiarity of Indic scripts.

Accommodation: Accommodation has been arranged in Patan a short walking distance from the University Campus. The location is also only a short walk away from Patan Durbar Square and allows for an easy exploration of heritage sites close by.

Participation fee: 700 US Dollars

The costs include accommodation and full boarding for the duration of the program (14 nights, arr. 15th, dep. 29th September), field trips (including site entrance fees), and airport pickup and drop-off. We are able to offer this reduced fee (orig. 1,000 US Dollars) thanks to substantial subsidies provided by the Austrian Science Fund Cluster of Excellence “EurAsian Transformations,” the Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, University of Oxford, and Peking University. The onsite facilities are provided by the HiCAS, Kathmandu University.

The participants have to cover their own international travel and insurance fees. 

Bursaries: There is a limited amount of EurAsia Academy travel bursaries and course subsidies available for participants without access to sufficient financial support through their own institutions. Please indicate in the application if you intent to apply for a travel bursary and/or course subsidy.

Application procedure: Please send a CV and a small statement of motivation. There are 20 spots available. If the number of suitable potential participants exceeds the number of available places, we will distribute them on a first come, first served basis.

Applications and queries should be sent to Pongsit Pangsrivongse at p.pangsrivongse(at)

New Application Deadline: May 1, 2024.



September 16–28, 2024

Himalaya Centre for Asian Studies (HiCAS), Kathmandu University, Balkumari Campus

Diwakar Acharya (University of Oxford)
Hong Luo (Peking University)
Nina Mirnig (IKGA)
Pongsit Pangsrivongse (University of Oxford)
Marion Rastelli (IKGA)

Supported by:
Austrian Science Fund Cluster of Excellence “EurAsian Transformations”
Himalaya Centre for Asian Studies at Kathmandu University
IKGA, Austrian Academy of Sciences 
Peking University
University of Oxford
University of Vienna


Nina Mirnig