Winter: Rutgers- Hinduism in India

Vrindavan, India

Program Overview

Term Start Date End Date Application Deadline
Winter 2022
Oct 01, 2021
Language(s) of Instruction
Class Standing
Good Academic Standing


Program Advisor

The Program

Gain a better understanding of Hinduism through a socio-cultural immersion in the historical city of Vrindavan in North India.

Learn about the living traditions and sacred history of Vrindavan, a significant Hindu religious site. Explore the history and tradition of Hinduism through cultural immersion and textual study with local Hindu scholars and guides in addition to American faculty.   Eat meals and safely reside at the  at the Vraja Institute, a dynamic and diverse environment.     


Program Location

CIty of Vrindavan



Students reside in Vrindavan and the course provides an immersive exposure to its socio-cultural world, where devotion to Krishna is prominent. The course will provide encounters with the lived aspects of Hindu devotionalism by including tours to Vrindavan devotional sites, and exposure to a variety of Vrindavan cultural forms such as music, drama, pilgrimage, architecture, ritual, and meditative practices.  Students visit pre-modern and modern temples, walking tours to prominent places of pilgrimage, the sacred Yamuna river, the local manuscript and iconography preservation center, and a cow sanctuary.  They also attend cultural performances in music, dance, and drama and participate in a traditional festival taking place at that time.  





Students take a guided trip to the famous Taj Mahal in Agra.




Students see the extensive collection of the Mathura museum and visit the site celebrated as Krishna’s birthplace.  


This program will in December 2022.

This immersive study abroad program is a three-credit course conducted for 2+ weeks during the Winter Session.  This course cuts across disciplines. Students from different backgrounds should consider applying! 

The classroom aspect of the course is taught by Dr. Satyanarayana Dasa.  It involves the study of two general texts on Hinduism intended to provide a panoramic glimpse at some of its variegatedness, and two texts central to the Krishna tradition, one philosophical, and one Epic.  In class, emphasis will be directed both to examining the philosophy and world-view of the course texts, and to considering their presentations of sacred history, ultimate reality, and self-transformation.    

The field experience is led by Robert Lindsey with the support of local guides.  The cultural component will consist of an immersive exposure to the socio-cultural world of Vrindavan, sacred to Krishna, where the course takes place.  Careful attention will be directed to considering the contextual socio-cultural and ideological world which inform these texts, and which they in turn inform, with a focus on how such traditions are reconfigured and manifest in the real life present-day religious landscape of Vrindavan.  Fieldwork will provide encounters with the lived aspects of Hindu devotionalism by including tours to Vrindavan devotional sites, and exposure to a variety of Vrindavan cultural forms such as music, drama, pilgrimage, architecture, ritual, meditative practices and Ayurvedic health principles and practices.    

Devotional sites include Krishna’s birthplace, the sacred Yamuna river, walking tours to prominent places of pilgrimage, and numerous visits to pre-modern and modern temples.  Students tour a modern art gallery, the extensive collections of the Mathura museum, the local manuscript and iconography preservation center, a cow sanctuary, and participate in a traditional festival taking place at that time.  They will also attend cultural performances in music, dance, and drama.     

To read the syllabus for this course, click here.  

The Vraja Institute is an educational organization centered around Sanskrit and Sanskrit derived cultural, philosophical, and religious traditions.  It focuses particularly on the diverse cultural expressions that are representative of the region.

For information about study abroad credit transfer, registration, and transcripts please visit the Academics section of our website.


Academic Calendar

*All dates are subject to change. Do not book your flight until you have been accepted by the university and the academic dates have been confirmed.


Late December

Mid January

Housing and Meals

Students will stay at the Jiva Institute, where they will also attend classes and receive three vegetarian meals daily plus snacks and purified water.  The Jiva Institute is gated and offers 24-hour security. There is a library and garden on-site. Housing and all student meals are included in the program fee. 



Available to all Rutgers students participating in a Rutgers Global–Study Abroad program. For more information please visit the Scholarship section of our website.

Faculty Leaders

Professor Satyanarayana Dasa

Dr. Satyanarayana Dasa is an Indian Gaudiya Vaisnava scholar and practitioner. 

Edwin Bryant

Bryant received his Ph.D in Indic languages and Cultures from Columbia University and taught Hinduism at Harvard University for three years.  He has received numerous awards and fellowships, published eight books and authored a number of articles on Vedic history, yoga, and the Krishna tradition. As a personal practitioner of yoga for 40 years, a number of them spent in India studying with traditional teachers, where he returns yearly, Edwin strives to combine academic scholarship and rigor with sensitivity towards traditional knowledge systems.


Robert Lindsey

Robert Lindsey is an Adjunct at Rutgers University where he co-teaches the winter session study abroad course in Hinduism.  He has given numerous guest lectures at Rutgers on topics such as Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavata Purana, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Mahabharata, and Hinduism and the Afterlife.  Robert is the Director of Yoga Philosophy and History at Yoga Vida NYC, where he teaches in teacher training programs and workshops. He has a BA in Politics from Princeton University and an MA in South Asian Religious Studies from Columbia University, where he also studied Sanskrit. 

Emily Zarych

“To this day, one of the most impactful, transformative and memorable experiences in my life was the two and a half weeks I spent in Vrindavan, India. When I think back to my experiences, I really was fortunate to be a part of a group of students who supported each other and a professor whose patience was incredible. This trip was both academically intriguing and experientially fulfilling.” 

Jai Shahani

"Studying abroad through the Hinduism In India program during the winter semester of 2018 was one of the greatest experiences of my life. As a freshman, I was offered the unique opportunity to immerse myself into a foreign culture and learn about the vast history of Hinduism. The study abroad programs were some of the primary reasons why I chose to come to Rutgers. Through this program, I was thrust into a unique environment where I developed better cultural competence interacting with new people living different lifestyles."