The Domain of Constant Excess: Plural Worship at the Munnesvaram Temples in Sri Lanka
"...a successfully ambitious effort, richly informative and insightful in its coverage of the site's religious life and most sophisticated in its use and advancing of theoretical perspectives...Profound insights...abound in this complex and rewarding piece of scholarship..a must read for scholars of south Asian religions." -The Australian Journal of Anthropology
The Sri Lankan ethnic conflict that has occurred largely between Sinhala Buddhists and Tamil Hindus is marked by a degree of religious tolerance that sees both communities worshiping together. This study describes one important site of such worship, the ancient Hindu temple complex of Munnesvaram. Standing adjacent to one of Sri Lanka's historical western ports, the fortunes of the Munnesvaram temples have waxed and waned through the years of turbulence, violence and social change that have been the country's lot since the advent of European colonialism in the Indian Ocean. Bastin recounts the story of these temples and analyses how the Hindu temple is reproduced as a center of worship amidst conflict and competition.
Rohan Bastin is Head of the School of Anthropology, Archaeology & Sociology at James Cook University.