I have been to Dakshina Chitra a few times, mostly accompanying my clients (Yes, I know, it sounds like a cliché) who visit from abroad as a pit stop on the way to Mahabalipuram. It is a living museum of art, architecture, lifestyles, crafts and performing arts of South India, presented in an enjoyable way – They certainly have succeeded in that mission. The place is convenient to visit from the city, well maintained – even the toilets here are super clean (Swachh Bharat!), a rarity in tourist places in India. It takes about an hour to reach from the city to Muttukadu, where the museum is present. You need about 2 – 4 hours to see all the exhibits and you can even have lunch in their traditional restaurant. The museum is open 6 days a week (Tuesday being a holiday), from 10 AM to 6 PM. Indian Citizens have to buy an entry ticket for ₹110, Foreigners for ₹250 apart from the car parking charges of ₹25 – I will say it is most every paisa!
Normally in most museums or art exhibitions in India, they don’t like you taking photographs. Surprisingly here they were cool about it, none of the staff blinked an eye. They have a charge if you bringing in, your DSLR/Photo Camera or a Video Camera, but there is no charge for taking in your Smartphone. And I was having my Google Pixel 2 which is ideal for these scenarios.
The reason for today’s visit was to see the Art Exhibition of paintings on the theme of Colours of Chennai (சென்னையின் வண்ணங்கள்), in celebration of Madras Week 2018. The works by the artist were stunning, they were on sale too – the price starting from ₹15,000 to ₹100,000 was beyond my reach, so all I could do was capture them with admiration in my camera.
Dakshina Chitra is famous for its reconstructed model houses from various regions of South India – Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Many of these houses are built from the materials discarded/disassembled from the original houses. They give you a quick glimpse into how people of each region lived in earlier centuries.
If you are in Chennai (Madras) or simply visiting my hometown, it will be worth your time to visit Dakshina Chitra in ECR, Chennai.