This paper attempts to reflect upon the historical and cultural changes related to the diverse constructions of Tantra by critically discussing various scholarly approaches to Tantra. The main questions addressed are: what do we know about the origins of Tantra?; how do we locate Tantric practices in a broader context of Indian religious history?; is there a single, unified, homogenous category nowadays described as „Tantrism“?; what special religious features could be attributed to it?; how was the phenomenon of Tantra imagined during the colonial period by Westerners and Indians? For purposes of answering these questions the article applies an analysis of historical and critical discourse. The onclusion is that Tantra was choosen for ideological colonial constructions of Indian „otherness“.
Key Words: tantra, hinduism, orientalism, colonialism, religious studies