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Summer University in Kathmandu

The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies Summer University invites eager learners to explore Hinduism, ritual, and tantric traditions of Nepal. The programme allows students to engage deeply with the beautiful traditions, deities, practices, foods, festivals, architecture, philosophies, and people of the Kathmandu valley through a variety of expertly-crafted lectures and excursions.  

The Kathmandu Valley is beaming with rich intricacies that students will get to witness first-hand, including learning how to engage in rituals and diving into unique local experiences, people, and cuisine.

Exploring the sites of religious practice means diving into a new realm of religious knowledge and understanding. The course will connect to a variety of fields including Study of Religions, Indology, South Asian Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Sanskrit Studies, and History of Religions. Participants can meet religion and spirituality as it is lived, engage their curiosity, open their minds, and let the world be their teacher.

Join us from August 4-August 17, 2024. Everyone is welcome to apply to the programme. If you are not enrolled in an academic institution, you are also very welcome to apply. We appreciate a variety of approaches and students. ECTS accreditation will be awarded to participating BA and MA students. Course completion certificates will be administered to all participants. 

Maanya’s experience

Travelling with the OCHS to Kathmandu was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had. I learned so much about culture and religion in Kathmandu, about ascetic practices and experienced live rituals. We were guided by specialists, taken to places and introduced to people I would otherwise never have had access to. It was most definitely an experience of a lifetime!

Maanya Patel
BA student, Oxford University

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What You Will Get

★ Daily lectures and workshops by leading international and Nepali scholars 

★ Expert-led tutorials and engagement with rituals, religious spaces, and traditional practices: understanding through participation

★ Unique fieldwork experiences and opportunities for ethnographic observation of Nepali culture 

★ Exclusive insight into some of the current cultural preservation and academic research projects being undertaken in the Kathmandu Valley 

★ Expert-led excursions to World Heritage sites, influential places of worship, cultural hotspots, and unknown tantric locations, connecting theory to practice

★ Festive traditional Newar and Himalayan dinners

★ Leadership and advisement from academic experts throughout the experiences

Where you will live

You will be housed at a small traditional Newari hotel in Patan right next to Durbar Square. The hotel will be open just for us and will ensure students have a safe and comfortable place to rest after long days of exploration, and a quiet place to complete course readings throughout the duration of the program. 

Included in your stay will be airport pick-up and drop-off, and amazing breakfasts.

Standard accommodation for students is in shared rooms. For single room accommodation requests, or for queries regarding accommodation arrangements, please contact the course staff. The deadline for changing room arrangements is May 1st, 2023.

Where you will live

You will be staying at comfortable accommodation through all of your stay!

We value a good quality hotel to rest after long days of excursions, do course readings, and host our morning lectures. Included in your stay will be airport pick-up and drop-off, and amazing breakfasts.

Standard accommodation for students is in shared rooms. For single room accommodation requests, or for queries regarding accommodation arrangements, please contact Managing Director Gitte Poulsen at gitte@ochs.org.uk. 
The deadline for changing room arrangements is April 1st, 2024.

Course Description

  • Course title: “Goddess Traditions & Tantra in the Kathmandu Valley”
  • Educational institution: Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion, and Society
  • Course credits: 10 ECTS (for current enrolled BA and MA students)
  • Assessment: Essay (graded pass/fail for ECTS) or a field rapport!
  • Language of instruction: English
  • Study period: Two weeks
  • Rate of studies: Full time
  • Dates of Term: August 4-August 17th, 2024
  • Admission: Everyone is welcome to apply
  • Course fee: £1,950 (excl. flight)

From Florence

“The course was absolutely fantastic, bridging theory and practice; classroom study and ‘out there’ experiences of religion and culture in the field. As an anthropologist-turned-theologian, my passion for ethnography and qualitative fieldwork has been reignited as I continue to study in Nepal. I am excited to be developing some of my findings into a forthcoming symposium paper, as well as my University of Cambridge Masters’ thesis due in December. Many thanks to the Spalding Trust Fund and Cambridge Divinity Faculty for supporting me in pursuing this learning experience.”

Florence Harry
Cambridge MPhil candidate

florence
Iona

From Iona

“The Kathmandu summer university experience was extraordinary. The OCHS tutors enriched us through daily lectures, and went above and beyond, taking us to field trips and excursions that informed and inspired us. Their well-connected local friends revealed the sacred side of the country that normal tourists do not have access to. We chased after the sunrises at Pashupatinath, witnessed the sun sinking beneath the top of the Himalayan peaks; we learnt about tantra and yoga in the morning, participated in religious rituals in the afternoon; Tibetan Buddhist puja at dawn, Hindu aghori puja at night; A buffalo was drunk on rakshi, and so were we. The colourful, sentimental, scented memories of my month in Kathmandu will live in my memory vividly and forever. The testimonial should be called a love letter to Kathmandu: It is not just a summer university, it is a life-changing experience. I will be back next year.”
 
Iona Hanqi Shen
Oxford University

From Lucas

“The OCHS Summer University in Kathmandu was really an incredible experience. Being in the city accompanied by academics, from Oxford as well as from Nepal, and all of their nous and knowledge was unlike any trip that I could have had taken on my own. I came back having met yogis and priests and having been at late night Aghori practices and tantric rituals. I would recommend the trip to anyone who has an interest in witnessing Nepal and its religious culture in a way usually difficult to access for an outsider.”

Lucas Quinn
Oxford University 

Lucas

Timeline

Event Details

Practical Information

Health & Safety and FAQ

Programme

View the full programme here

Photo Gallery

From previous summer schools in Kathmandu

Sign up

If you would like to secure your spot in the Kathmandu Summer School program, please fill out the google form below. Please be prepared to submit the down payment in order to ensure your spot.

After submitting the application, applicants will be contacted by a member of OCHS staff regarding the status of their application. Successful applicants are required to present the down payment of 1,950 GBP within seven days of application decision in order to secure their spot. Successfully chosen applicants will be added to the participant roster when both their personal information and deposit has been accepted. Applicants will receive a payment confirmation from our team within 3-5 working business days of making payment. Failure to submit either payments within the required timelines will cancel their spot in the programme. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to course director gitte@ochs.org.uk.

For more info about the course fee and how to pay click here!

Our team

This summer university is run and taught by
Gavin Annual summer uni@0.5x
Professor
Gavin Flood FBA

Tutor and Researcher

BWO
Dr Bjarne
Wernicke-Olesen

Tutor and Researcher

Silje
Dr Silje Lyngar
Einarsen

Tutor and Researcher

Rajan
Dr Rajan
Khatiwoda

Tutor and Researcher

Gitte
Gitte Poulsen

Managing Director and Tutor

Laura Staff Photo
Laura Anderson

Manager and tutor

monishlille@0.5x
Monish Mulepati

Local Manager and Logistics

Prema Goet

Tutor and photographer

Professor Sondra Hausner

Tutor and Researcher

Tanja Jakobsen

Webdesign and consultant

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