This blog is comprised of my thoughts and commentary regarding the interpretive traditions and ritual practices of the sacred ammonite fossils called Shaligram. Since 2012, I have been 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!
My name is Dr. Holly Walters. My undergraduate degree in Anthropology/Archaeology is from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (my focus was religious and linguistic anthropology/Medieval history) where I also participated in an archaeological dig in northern Belize (Lowland Maya). I received both my Masters and my PhD in Cultural Anthropology (focusing on religion, language, gender, and South Asia) at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA and am currently a visiting professor of anthropology at Wellesley College. I have previously conducted fieldwork on Hindu ritual practice and temple deity care in West Bengal, northern India and spent two years in Nepal after beginning my current project on Shaligrams. My ethnographic work therefore focuses on ritual practice, religious syncretism, Shaligram pilgrimage, fossil folklores, and community identity in Mustang, 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 and media, 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.