Neha Sayed (Aalto ARTS): Towards spatial analysis of belief narratives: 'Saintlore of Tapal-Naka'

This paper explores the performative generation and enrichment of the meaning of an architectural place through the belief in legends that permeate and configure it.

We present a case of a market square called Tapāl Nākā, in a late medieval port town called Panvel which is now part of a suburb of Navi Mumbai. Our attempt here is to first establish the memorates through narrative ethnography and then to analyse the legends in the oral tradition as part of the common knowledge in the community. In this effort, we want to decipher the role of the architectural place and its evolution through the spatial referencing of the lore. As part of our larger research on this particular place, we gathered life narratives from people and also analysed the architecture within which they lived. The shrines of the Sufi saints and the guardian spirits appear everywhere in both data-sets. Extracting the lore from the transcriptions of these narratives and through their spatial analysis we will attempt to establish the meaning of the ‘Place’ and its resonance with belief as found in the narratives.

Aalto HELDIG DH pizza seminar on Friday 13 December at 12.00 (Aalto CS, room B121, Konemiehentie 2)