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Sacred Complex

The concept of the Sacred Complex is a significant aspect of the Indian social system and plays a vital role in the lives of its people. Originating from the works of LP Vidyarthi, this anthropological framework provides a lens through which the intricate relationships between various components of the sacred in the Indian society can be understood [1].

Definition of Sacred Complex

Sacred Complex can be defined as the interconnection and interaction of sacred elements, including the sacred shrines, sacred specialists, and sacred performances within a society. It represents the unity and integrity of various socio-religious phenomena and their influence on people’s lives [2].

The Indian Sacred Complex

Sacred Shrines

In India, temples and other sacred places often serve as focal points for the community. They become the epicenters of cultural and religious activities, binding the community together.

Table 1: Prominent Sacred Shrines in India

Shrine NameLocationDeity
Kashi VishwanathVaranasi, UPLord Shiva
Jagannath TemplePuri, OdishaLord Jagannath
Meenakshi TempleMadurai, Tamil NaduGoddess Meenakshi

Sacred Specialists

These individuals, often priests and spiritual leaders, play a crucial role in connecting people with the sacred. Their functions, roles, and significance vary across regions and communities in India.

Sacred Performances

From rituals to festivals, sacred performances are vital in conveying the socio-religious meanings and beliefs of the community. They reinforce the cultural norms and values within the society [3].

LP Vidyarthi and His Contributions

LP Vidyarthi, a prominent Indian anthropologist, introduced the concept of Sacred Complex. His work, particularly in the city of Gaya, Bihar, has been instrumental in understanding the interconnectedness of various sacred elements and their impact on the Indian society [4].

Vidyarthi’s Fieldwork

His fieldwork in Gaya was revolutionary and provided comprehensive insights into the ways sacred shrines, specialists, and performances interact and influence each other within the community.

Table 2: Key Concepts in Vidyarthi’s Sacred Complex Study

Sacred ShrinesTemples and places of worship
Sacred SpecialistsPriests, monks, and spiritual leaders
Sacred PerformancesRituals, festivals, and other religious activities


The concept of Sacred Complex is not merely an abstract theory; it is a living entity that resonates within the cultural fabric of India. LP Vidyarthi’s work has opened doors to a deeper understanding of the intricate connections between various sacred elements, providing a multi-dimensional perspective of Indian society.


[1] Vidyarthi, L.P. (1961). The Sacred Complex in Hindu Gaya. Asia Publishing House. https://www.indianculture.gov.in/ebooks/sacred-complex-hindu-gaya

[2] Ghurye, G.S. (1966). Indian Sociology through Ghurye. Popular Prakashan. https://www.academia.edu/71075012/GS_Ghurye_Caste_in_India

[3] Béteille, A. (1986). The Idea of Natural Inequality and Other Essays. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1177/001946468402100407

[4] Vidyarthi, L.P., & Rai, B.K. (1976). The Tribal Culture of India. Concept Publishing Company. https://catalogue.nla.gov.au/catalog/855813

Anthropologist Vasundhra - Author and Anthroholic

Vasundhra, an anthropologist, embarks on a captivating journey to decode the enigmatic tapestry of human society. Fueled by an insatiable curiosity, she unravels the intricacies of social phenomena, immersing herself in the lived experiences of diverse cultures. Armed with an unwavering passion for understanding the very essence of our existence, Vasundhra fearlessly navigates the labyrinth of genetic and social complexities that shape our collective identity. Her recent publication unveils the story of the Ancient DNA field, illuminating the pervasive global North-South divide. With an irresistible blend of eloquence and scientific rigor, Vasundhra effortlessly captivates audiences, transporting them to the frontiers of anthropological exploration.

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