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FASS academics advise OU series exploring the India’s Treasures on Channel Four

presenter Bettany Hughes is filmed by a camera crew in front of a temple in India with tourists in the background

In a ground-breaking two-part series, Exploring India's Treasures with Bettany Hughes, supported by FASS academic consultants, takes a cultural journey across India, broadcast 9 and 16 July 2023 on Channel Four and available on 4OD.

Home to cultures, traditions and sites as old as the ancient Egyptians, Mesopotamians and Chinese dynasties, India is a vast country with a population of 1.32 billion people and one of the fastest growing economies in the world. This spiritual heartland is a hotbed of constant genesis and invention with one foot squarely in the past and another firmly in the future.

Dr Renate Dohmen (Senior Lecturer in Art History) and Dr Suzanne Newcombe (Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies) were academic consultants for the series. They explained that “the series presents a broad range of cultural sites and practices from Northern and Southern India that showcase the rich cultural and religious diversity of India.

“They demonstrate how the encounter with different religions and cultural practices from other parts of the globe, be it through trade, pilgrimage, travel or conquest, have created rich synergies and fusions as evidenced in architectural masterpieces such as the Taj Mahal, the Hampi Palaces in Karnataka and dance practices such as theyyam.

The two episodes of the series sees Bettany – who presented FASS supported OU/BBC co-productions such as Genius of the Ancient World and Divine Women ­– travel from North to South, through swathes of stunning countryside, thriving cities, temples and palaces, exploring magical sites and mystical rituals, revealing the fascinating past of this epically beautiful sub-continent with local experts and academics.

Content around the series, including an exclusive interview with Bettany Hughes about the making of the programme, and further information about the research of Dr Dohmen and Dr Newcombe can be found on OU Connect

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