Ajay Rao

Ajay K. Rao

Associate Professor & Vice Dean, Graduate (Through to June 30, 2025)
Historical Studies - History of Religions
  • Room:
    MN 4246
  • Office Hours:
    Please refer to the syllabus and/or contact via email.
  • Mailing Address:

    3359 Mississauga Road, Maanjiwe nendamowinan, 4th Floor
    Mississauga, ON L5L 1C6


Ajay Rao is Associate Professor in the Department of Historical Studies and the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. His areas of research include Sanskrit intellectual history, Sanskrit literature, and religion in South India. His first book, Re-figuring the Ramayana as Literature: A History of Reception in Premodern India, focused on traditional hermeneutics and the pre-colonial prehistory of the modern emergence of this epic as a foundational religious text. He is currently engaged in collaborative research projects on the “Age of Vedanta” and “Sultanate Sanskrit”.


PhD (University of Chicago)


  • South Asian Religion
  • Sanskrit Literature
  • Intellectual History



  • (2014) “The Vaisnava Writings of a Saiva Intellectual.”Journal of Indian Philosophy.
  • (2011) “A New Perspective on the Royal Rama Cult at Vijayanagara.”South Asian Texts in History: Critical Engagements with Sheldon Pollock.Eds. Yigal Bronner, Whitney Cox, and Lawrence McCrea.U of Michigan P.25-44.
  • (2008) “Theologising the Inaugural Verse: Slesa Reading in Ramayana Commentary.”Journal of Hindu Studies1: 77-92.