Agni 2012

One of the primary venues for the ongoing performance of Sāmaveda is the Agnicayana, a 12-day sacrifice for the god of fire (Agni) performed by the Nambudiris of Kerala. For me, this is a chance to observe and document ritual traditions with roots in the first millennium BCE...But it's also a chance to witness the ongoing transformation of these cultural "survivals" in dynamic social contexts--the current Agnicayanas, attended by thousands of devotees, are quite different from the famous revival organized with the help of Dutch scholar in 1975. One thing that has not changed (much) is that non-Brahmins like me are not allowed inside the ritual enclosure (unless you're from a media outlet!!). So I learn as much as I can chatting by the barriers with the participants during their breaks (as here, with Tottam Krishnan Nambudiri in Kodakara 2012).

 With Tottam Krishnan Nambudiri on the sidelines of the Kodakara Agnicayana, Kerala, April 2012. 

With Tottam Krishnan Nambudiri on the sidelines of the Kodakara Agnicayana, Kerala, April 2012.