Subhashini Kaligotla

Subhashini Kaligotla

Art and Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent
Ph.D., Columbia University 2015


Subhashini Kaligotla is an art historian of ancient and medieval South Asia. Her areas of expertise extend from the architecture of the early centuries BCE into the first millennium CE. Specific research interests include sacred spaces (Brahmanical, Buddhist, and Jaina); the agency of makers, materials, objects, and spaces; the dialogue between visual and textual representation; and historiography.

She is author of Shiva’s Waterfront Temples: Architects and Their Audiences in Medieval India (Yale University Press, 2022), a work that places the ingenuity of medieval Deccan Indian makers at its center. The book rethinks the epistemology for the first-millennium temple by drawing attention to the creative resources of architects and the shared aesthetic values and bodily experience of the diverse audiences who moved through medieval spaces.

Her current book project, entitled Seeing Ghosts, is an exploration of the iconographies of death and the afterlife in South Asia and across the Indian Ocean. The project is concerned with mortuary rituals, mourning and memorials, non-terrestrial realms and after-worlds, and various other-worldly beings such as the god of death Yama and bhutas, pretas, and pishachas, that is, manifold ghosts and ghouls. While continuing interests in architecture and sculpture, the research incorporates textiles, painting, painted scrolls, and other media from the subcontinent and the maritime and littoral zones connecting South and Southeast Asia.

Before joining the faculty in Art History and Archaeology, Professor Kaligotla taught at Yale. Her teaching and advising span the gamut of the subcontinent’s visual culture: from ancient India to the modern and contemporary periods.

A practicing poet and author of the poetry collection Bird of the Indian Subcontinent, she publishes poetry in literary journals and anthologies in India, the UK, and the US.

Selected Publications


Shiva’s Waterfront Temples: Architects and their Audiences in Medieval India (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2022).

Bird of the Indian Subcontinent (Bangalore: (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, 2018).


“The Thing Itself: Images of Architecture and their Power in Early Deccan India.” RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 75/76 (2021): 59-73.

“Words and Pictures: Rāmāyaṇa Traditions and the Art of Ekphrasis.” Religions 11, no. 7: 364.

“A Temple Without a Name: Deccan Architecture and the Canon for Sacred Indian Buildings.” In Canons and Values: Ancient to Modern, edited by Larry Silver and Kevin Terraciano, 92-113. Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2019.

“Beyond Borderland: Claiming a Conceptual Space for Early Deccan Buildings.” Getty Research Journal, no. 8 (2016): 1-16.

Selected Publications