No Madrasis here, only South Indian pride

Dakshina Chitra. The name paints a portrait of the south. Here, south of Chennai along the East Coast Road, awaits a tableau of art and culture, of structures and installations, of sounds, colours and voices, all speaking of the great heritage -- living and preserved -- of the four south Indian states. Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh come vibrantly alive here in an experience that inspires immersion. It's a giant fairground, thumping with myriad drumbeats, redolent of familiar yet unique tastes and aromas, thrumming with multilingual conversations, and built over with relocated and reconstructed ancestral homes that offer extraordinary opportunities for exploration. Marketplaces are abuzz with craftspersons lovingly explaining their art to those inclined to listen. Throngs of schoolchildren overrun the grounds, their happy insouciance underscoring the purpose for which Dakshina Chitra was established. And for those who generalize India's kaleidoscopic south with that abhorrent pejorative - Madrasi - this treasure, Dakshina Chitra, is a must-visit. For an education or, perhaps, a dose of perspective. Or, at the very least, to set the record straight.



Explore Dakshina Chitra with AZHAR MOHAMED ALI and BIJOY VENUGOPAL



Missed the live action of The Great East Coast Road Drive? Enjoy the archived recording and the extras here.

'Living Traditions in a Changing Society' is the tagline that invites you to Dakshina Chitra. This non-profit, community service project of the Madras Craft Foundation places emphasis on the preservation and promotion of the cultures of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
'Living Traditions in a Changing Society' is the tagline that invites you to Dakshina Chitra. This non-profit, community service project of the Madras Craft Foundation places emphasis on the preservation and promotion of the cultures of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.
A young visitor plays inside the courtyard of a relocated Tamil mansion.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Chennai Dakshina Chitra
A young visitor plays inside the courtyard of a relocated Tamil mansion.
Dakshina Chitra showcases the cultures of the four South Indian states. There are also amphitheatres, restaurants and tea-shops, street markets and performance spaces.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
Dakshina Chitra showcases the cultures of the four South Indian states. There are also amphitheatres, restaurants and tea-shops, street markets and performance spaces.
A fortune teller awaits her clients.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Chennai Dakshina Chitra
A fortune teller awaits her clients.
The entrance to the Chettinad mansion, lovingly and faithfully recreated.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
The entrance to the Chettinad mansion, lovingly and faithfully recreated.
The pillars of a Chettinad inner courtyard.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Chennai Dakshina Chitra
The pillars of a Chettinad inner courtyard.
Artifacts and exhibits add dimension to the cultural experience.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
Artifacts and exhibits add dimension to the cultural experience.
Inside a replica Brahmin home, with real kitchen implements.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Chennai Dakshina Chitra
Inside a replica Brahmin home, with real kitchen implements.
Life-size human figures add atmosphere to a model Ambur Brahmin house.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
Life-size human figures add atmosphere to a model Ambur Brahmin house.
It's almost like stepping into a real home, so complete is the detailing.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
It's almost like stepping into a real home, so complete is the detailing.
A Chettinad home comes to life in life-size figures of women at work.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
A Chettinad home comes to life in life-size figures of women at work.
Bronze artifacts in the exhibition of religious art.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
Bronze artifacts in the exhibition of religious art.
An art gallery of retrospectives in the Ambur house, relocated from Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
An art gallery of retrospectives in the Ambur house, relocated from Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu.
The Sattanur House is typical of the homes of agriculturists in and around Thanjavur and Mayavaram districts of Tamil Nadu. The house has been reconstructed without changes but for its orientation.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
The Sattanur House is typical of the homes of agriculturists in and around Thanjavur and Mayavaram districts of Tamil Nadu. The house has been reconstructed without changes but for its orientation.
Inside a Kerala Hindu home relocated from Mankavu.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
Inside a Kerala Hindu home relocated from Mankavu.
A Syrian Christian ancestral home relocated from Kerala.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Chennai Dakshina Chitra
A Syrian Christian ancestral home relocated from Kerala.
The entrance to the Syrian Christian house, relocated from Kuttattukulam near Kottayam, Kerala. The distinguishing feature of the house is its woodcraft, using wood from jackfruit and palmyra trees.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
The entrance to the Syrian Christian house, relocated from Kuttattukulam near Kottayam, Kerala. The distinguishing feature of the house is its woodcraft, using wood from jackfruit and palmyra trees.
The attention to detail is overwhelming.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
The attention to detail is overwhelming.
A portrait of a Syrian Christian grand dame with gold hoops in her pierced earlobes presides over the atmosphere of the house.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
A portrait of a Syrian Christian grand dame with gold hoops in her pierced earlobes presides over the atmosphere of the house.
The Puthupally House is a Syrian Christian house with wood panelling and jointing.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
The Puthupally House is a Syrian Christian house with wood panelling and jointing.
Detail of an areca sheath cap brings the experience alive to visitors.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
Detail of an areca sheath cap brings the experience alive to visitors.
Detail of a wall mural in the Nair house from Kerala at Dakshina Chitra.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
Detail of a wall mural in the Nair house from Kerala at Dakshina Chitra.
Household implements preserved for future generations to see, understand and cherish.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
Household implements preserved for future generations to see, understand and cherish.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
Stone walls cut with steps for climbing.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
Stone walls cut with steps for climbing.
The library at Dakshina Chitra treasures a collection of books and media on Indian art and culture, particularly relevant to southern India.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
The library at Dakshina Chitra treasures a collection of books and media on Indian art and culture, particularly relevant to southern India.
Section of a Muslim trader's house relocated from Aldur, Chikmagalur district, Karnataka. Dating back to 1914, it showcases the rich heritage and lifestyle of Muslims in south India.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
Section of a Muslim trader's house relocated from Aldur, Chikmagalur district, Karnataka. Dating back to 1914, it showcases the rich heritage and lifestyle of Muslims in south India.
In every corner are artistic reminders of tradition and craft.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
In every corner are artistic reminders of tradition and craft.
The gift shop, tempting with takeaways and keepsakes.
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Chennai Dakshina Chitra
The gift shop, tempting with takeaways and keepsakes.
What will you take home, in addition to the enriching experience?
Travel Great East Coast Road Drive Dakshina Chitra
What will you take home, in addition to the enriching experience?

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