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Grant Winner - Krithika Varagur

If These Walls Could Talk: Documenting the Chola Dynasty’s Inscriptional Past

Krithika is an award-winning American journalist, author, essayist, and humorist.

She has sailed to the Indonesian spice island, gone on pilgrimage with Albanian Sufis, dog-sledded above the Arctic Circle, and retraced the footsteps of the Victorian naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace through Southeast Asia as a National Geographic Explorer.

Her book The Call: Inside the Global Saudi Religious Project was published by Columbia Global Reports in April 2020.

Through her project, If These Walls Could Talk, Krithika aims to completely transcribe, translate, and publish the inscriptions at the Gangaikonda Cholapuram complex. There are more than 1000 of these incredible, UNESCO-recognized feats of art, engineering, and architecture, whose stone inscriptions contain immense valuable information about the history, culture, and religious practices of ancient India.

Krithika plans to survey the 1000+ Chola temple sites and research protocol for systematic transcription. Ultimately, she plans to create an open-access database with photos of the temple inscriptions and translated texts in both Tamil and English, so she can share her findings and these ancient inscriptions with the world.


Country of research: India

Fields of research: Archaeology (Epigraphy)