Welcome to the OCHS manuscript database project

Until now, manuscript collections have not been easily accessible to scholars of South Asia and are little known to the general public. With our OCHS Manuscript Database Project, we wish to contribute to a new development in Digital Humanities and Hindu Studies with an open-access database, providing a new user interface for browsing and interacting with primary research materials as well as transliterations and translations in different languages. These are doctrinal, exegetical and ritual works produced by the many religious traditions of South Asia with a focus on Śākta traditions and Bengali Vaiṣṇavism in the modern period.

This database will in time comprise more than 26 thousand works in Sanskrit, Newari, Tibetan and other ancient and medieval South Asian languages, produced within a time-span of a 1,000 years. They are written in a large variety of scripts and on different writing materials, such as paper, palm leaf and birch bark.


The OCHS database will offer new workflows for use of computational tools in Hindu Studies, including

  • the possibility to automatically generate formatted HTMLs, PDF, or Word files with customised content of specific manuscripts (e.g., choosing to include the original Sanskrit, transliteration, and translation in language of choice)
  • easily perform textual analysis and concordance (e.g., count and compare the frequency of specific words or phrases across manuscripts, including identifying parallel passages)
  • automated transliteration of hand-written manuscripts

In addition, the OCHS database offers a more advanced interface allowing users to

  • see transliterated and translated texts side-by-side with images of the original manuscripts, and download specific views of text data in structured form (e.g., CSV)
  • overlay text on top of the manuscript image to compare (e.g., transliteration or translation with the original Sanskrit text)
  • add comments or suggest corrections for text or image material

जलाद्रक्षेत्तैलाद्रक्षेद्रक्षेच्छिथिलबन्धनात् |
मूर्खहस्ते न मां दद्यादिति वदति पुस्तकम् ||

“‘Save me from water, protect me from oil and from loose binding,
And do not give me into the hands of fools!’ says the manuscript.”

— Anonymous verse found at the end of various manuscripts