Prabhavati C. Reddy

Prabhavati C. Reddy

Prabhavati C. Reddy

Adjunct Faculty

South Asian Religions; Hinduism; Buddhism; Sanskrit Literature; Indian Art History

Prabhavati Reddy, Adjunct Faculty of Religious Studies, is an interdisciplinary scholar with research focus in Hindu traditions, religious art and culture, Telugu literature and issues of goddess, women and religion. She holds a PhD from Harvard University (Sanskrit and Indian Studies) and masters' degrees from University of Texas at Austin (Art History) and Osmania University (Ancient Indian History & Archaeology, Hyderabad, India). Her scholarship focuses on the historical development of Hindu traditions with reference to constructive theological frameworks, religious authority and identity, conflict and resolution in response to sociological and political processes. She is the author of Hindu Pilgrimage: Shifting Patterns of Worldview of Srisailam in South India (Routledge & Oxford University,2014 & 2017). She has written articles on aspects of the South Indian temple art and religion, Hindu ritual traditions, diaspora Hinduism in North America, and folk literature of Telangana goddess Bathukamma.  She is currently working on a monograph on the Tantra, Siddha, and Yoga Traditions in medieval south India.

Current Research

Book projects and research in progress:

  • The Tantra, Siddha, and Yoga Traditions. A Transregional Natha sampradaya in South India: (manuscript submitted to Routledge and OCHS, Oxford University press).
  • Sacred Images and Ritual Practices in Vaishanavism, The God of Seven Hills of Tirumala-Tirupati Temple in South India (manuscript in progress)
  • Memoir chapters (in progress)


Selected Publications

  • Bathukamma. The Empowering Songs and Stories of Women of Telangana in India, ATA Publications, 2022.
  • Hindu Pilgrimage: Shifting Patterns of Worldview of Srisailam in South India. Routledge Hindu Studies Series, Routledge and Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, 2014 and 2017.
  • "Bathukamma: The Folk-Song Tradition of the Flower Goddess of Telangana in South India," in The Goddess, ed., Mandakranta Bose, The Oxford History of Hinduism Series, Oxford University Press, 2018.
  • “Srisailam” in Brill's Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Ed., Knut A. Jacobsen, Vol. 6, 2017.
  • "Who has Privileged Authority and Who has Acquired Authority to Speak for Hinduism in America?" In Deepak Sarma, ed. Authority and Its Challenges in Hindu Texts, Translations, and Transnational Communities, (Deepak Heritage Books: 2009).
  • “The Narrative Art of Srisailam Prakara, A Visual Purana,” Artibus Asiae (2008)LXVIII:1, 57-99.
  • “Vishnu’s Universe in Ritual Space: The Abhisheka Consecration of Penn Hills’ Sri Venkatesvara,” Journal of Ritual Studies (2006) 20:2, pp.1-18, figures and plates

Grants and Fellowships

  • Visiting Professor Shivadasani Fellowship, Oxford University/ Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, England, April-June, 2016; Delivered Shivdasani lectures and seminars on Vaishnava, Saiva and Natha Siddha traditions, rituals and yoga practices in south India. 
  • American Academy of Religion Individual Research Grant, 2013, for conducting research & fieldwork on Bathukamma festival in Telangana.
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Northwestern University, 2001-03 for writing book on Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh.
  • American Academy of Religion Individual Research Grant, 2001 for conducting research and fieldwork on the Goddess temple of Srisailam.
  • Harvard University Research Grant, 1999, for writing dissertation on Srisailam
  • Samuel Kress Foundation Travel Fellowship, 1996, for conducting fieldwork on the Kakatiyan temples of Telangana.

Courses Taught

George Mason University, 2015-Present

Courses Teaching (and taught):

RELI 212: Religions of Asia

RELI 235: Religion and Literature

RELI 100: Human Religious Experience

RELI 313: Hinduism

RELI 315: Buddhism

George Washington University, 2007-2014

Courses Taught:

REL 1002 World Religions: East (India, China & Japan)

REL 3501 Hinduism

REL 3508 Pilgrimage and Sacred Sites in India  

REL 3989 The Goddess in India and Beyond 

REL 3562 Mythologies of India 

REL 3990 Yoga Traditions and Practices in Indian Religions                           

REL 198 Islam and Hinduism in South Asia

REL 193 Indian Temple Religion

REL 3990 Hinduism in Modern World (Colonial-Modern to Diaspora)

Northwestern University, 2001-2006

Courses Taught:

REL 320-21 Hindu Religious Thought

REL 321-22 Hindu Mythology in Literature, Art and Performance

REL 220-26 Introduction to Hinduism

REL 350-26 Pilgrimage in South Asian Religions

REL 350-23 Yoga and Mysticism in Indian Religions

REL 111-12 Varieties of Religious Tradition 




PhD in Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard University (2000)

M.A in Art History, University of Texas at Austin (1986)

M.A & M.Phil in Ancient Indian History and Archaeology, Osmania University, (India, 1979 & 1981) 

M.A in Political Science, Osmania University (1977)

B.A in History, Telugu literature, Political Science, Osmania University, (1975) 

Recent Presentations

Keynote speech, "Intersections between Folk and Tantric Goddesses and Women's role in Contemporary South Asian Practices," SOAS, University of London, April 2023 (for workshop Ancient Wisdoms for Modern Times, Analysing Contemporary Challenges through the Lens of Tantra and Shamanism)

Visiting Professor Shivadasani Fellowship, Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, Oxford University, Oxford, England, April-June 2016. Delivered the following lectures and seminars:

  •  "The Vaisnava Appropriation of Vedic Fires in the Vaikhanasa Tradition: A New Ritual System for Image Worship"
  • "The Ritual Culture and Materiality of Sacred Images in the Vaisnava Temple         Tradition"
  • "The Tantric Mandala of Srisailam Temple and the Religious World of Saivas and Saktas"
  • "Nath Siddhas and Hatha Yoga Practices in South India"

Center for the Study of Indian Religions Conference, Butler University, Indianapolis, Paper, June 2014

  • “Hyderabad’s Rural and Urban Landscapes and the Transformation of the Chilkur Balaji Temple”    

Research Scholar, Osmania University, Centre for International Programs, Hyderabad, India, Lecture, August 2014

  • “Indian Diaspora in North America: Waves of Migration" 

American Academy of Religion Conference, Baltimore, Paper, March 2013

  •  “Bathukamma, A Festival of Song and Dance of Flower Goddess                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

In the Media

Dr. Prabhavati C. Reddy was invited by Telangana Government to participate as an International Invitee in the World Telugu Conference, Hyderabad, December 2017. She was recognized for her scholarly contributions to Telugu literature and religious studies of Telugu states. She was interviewed by editors of several news papers and magazines and YOYO TV channel. 

You Tube: Prof & Dr. Prabhavati Reddy's Exclusive Interview with YOYO TV - Hindu Pilgrimage | YOYO TV Channel, January 18, 2018