This blog is comprised of my thoughts and commentary regarding the interpretive and ritual practices of the sacred stones called Shaligram. For the past six years, I have spent months and even up to a year at a time working with and learning from the wonderful Hindu, Buddhist, and Bonpo Shaligram practitioners of India, Nepal, and among the South Asian Diaspora in the US and the UK. While I continue my ethnographic fieldwork on the topic of Shaligrams and work towards the publication of my first book on the subject, I invite any and all interested in the subject of Shaligrams to read, discuss, and participate here. I certainly do not claim to know everything but I am happy to share what I have learned so far!
J. Foster is a pen name. While I don’t typically discuss myself in public forums, I will say that I have a degree in Anthropology/Archaeology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (my focus was religious and linguistic anthropology/Medieval anthropology) where I participated in an archaeological dig in northern Belize (Lowland Maya). I am currently a doctoral candidate in Cultural Anthropology (focusing on religion, language, and gender) at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. I have previously conducted fieldwork on Hindu ritual practice in West Bengal, northern India. My current ethnographic work now however focuses on ritual practice, religious syncretism, Shaligram pilgrimage, and national identity in Mustang District, Nepal (in both the Kali Gandaki regions as well as the temple site of Muktinath). Aside from that, I am personally interested in myth and ritual, religious anthropology, semiotics, ethnography, and linguistics.
If you have additional comments for questions about anything you read here, I encourage you to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.