Siddha Photography. Making the Invisible Visible in Siddha Pharmacology

A Photo Essay

  • Justus Weiss (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


This photo essay explores the intricate practices of Siddha pharmacology in Tamil Nadu, India, as documented during field research conducted at the Puttu Maharishi Ashram in Vellore. The essay also examines the role of photography as a research tool, one that is used here to capture moments and processes in Siddha medicine that extend beyond the reach of textual description. The focus is directed toward two significant practices: Pudam, a detailed calcination process integral to medicine making, and Velvi, a full moon fire ritual symbolizing the spiritual dimension of Siddha practice. These practices serve as vital components in the construction and expression of the Siddha medical tradition, highlighting the unique interplay between material and spiritual elements. The photo essay serves as a window into the world of Siddha pharmacology, allowing for an immersive experience of its aesthetic and transformative aspects. Photography is employed not merely as a documentary tool but as a medium for intersubjectivity, inviting readers to engage with the subtle intricacies of this ancient healing tradition. The essay aims to render the invisible spiritual dimensions of Siddha medicine visible.


Siddha medicine, pharmaceutical anthropology, Tamil Nadu, Pudam, Velvi
How to Cite
Weiss, Justus. 2023. “Siddha Photography. Making the Invisible Visible in Siddha Pharmacology: A Photo Essay”. Dastavezi | the Audio-Visual South Asia 5 (1).