This book presents a unique ethnographic account of material religion in the Himalayan city of Shimla. Although the mountains that surround the city are a materialisation of divinity, Miles-Watson describes how the city was largely a planned development, with a clear understanding of the mountains as a suitable host for an environment that would invoke the imagined landscapes of 'home' for Europeans.
Today the Europeans have largely left, but this book shows how the trace of their action remains and nowhere is this more important than in relation to the sacred. The author shows that key to understanding the city is the contemporary material religion of the Christian communities, who are marginal (by profession) yet metaphorically and literally central to the contemporary life of the city.
The book builds upon over a decade of research to present an ethnographic account of devotional practices that speaks to contemporary developments in the blossoming fields of both the anthropology of Christianity and material religion. Through this exploration the book answers the mystery of Shimla's postcolonial harmony, while directly complicating established theories in the anthropology of religion, postcolonial studies, and material culture.