Dakshinachitra happens to be one of the most renowned and widely held museums situated in Chennai that makes a mark in the living history of Museums in India. The museum has a varied display of Indian artifacts and works of art and crafts, architecture, lifestyles, and performing arts. The museum has been set up in the year 1996 in order to promote the culture of South India in a global scenario.
The entire project was taken up by one of the NGOs in South India, Madras Craft Foundation. The museum is said to offer amazing and engaging tours to visitors coming from all over the world. It displays more than 4220 different artifacts and about 1,000,000 pictorial representations of various happenings in South India. A passage through the galleries will certainly give anyone a vast exposure and depth knowledge of the legacy of the times gone by of South India.
The museum is crafted in the middle of the city in the form of a village. It has about 18 different houses that offer a unique experience to the visitors showcasing various contextual exhibits. These houses are brought to the village from various areas of South India and were reconstructed in a unique style by professional artisans. If you are interested in gaining knowledge about the past happenings and cultural variations of South India, then there is no better place than Dakshinachitra.
How to Reach Dakshinachitra
1. By Air:
There are three airports near Dakshinachitra where you can land in order to reach the museum. The nearest of the three airports is Chennai International Airport, which is at a distance of 17 Km. The other two airports are Pondicherry Airport and Tirupati Airport, which are at a distance of 137 Km and 162 Km respectively.
2. By Bus:
If you want to travel to the Dakshinachitra Museum by local buses, then you need to catch 109, 588, and 599 buses that ply to MGM Dizzee world bus stop. After reaching the bus stop, you can cover the rest of the distance walking. The museum is at a distance of 200 meters from the bus stop.
3. By Road:
The museum is located at a distance of 25 km to the South of Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. You can drive to the place by your personal vehicle or else you can also book cabs on rent to take you to the museum.
Best Time to Visit Dakshinachitra
There is no such best time to visit the Dakshinachitra museum in Tamil Nadu. Visitors can come over to this place all over the year and experience the magic of the wonderful heritage village that has been crafted to preserve the age-old artisanship and culture of the expanse.
However, if you want to make the most out of your trip, you can come over to Tamil Nadu in between the months of October and February. Summers and Rainy season is not preferable to be in Tamil Nadu because of scorching sun and frequent downpours.
What Not to Miss at Dakshinachitra
Places to Visit around Dakshinachitra
1. Breezy Beach, Chennai:
Breezy Beach or Thiruvanmiyur Beach is one of the most popular beaches near the Dakshinachitra Museum. This beach is less crowded than many other beaches in Tamil Nadu and offers amazing views of sunrise and sunset. Tourists love to take a dip in the crystal clear water of the beach.
2. Cholamandal Artists' Village:
The Cholamandal Artists' village was established in the year 1977 and it happens to be one of the largest congregations of artisans in India. The artworks from this village have been globally exhibited and acclaimed. This village was founded by K.C.S Panicker who was once the head of the Madras School of Art.
3. VGP Universal Kingdom:
VGP Universal Kingdom is one such place near the east coast of Chennai that offers amazing water and amusement activities to the tourists. The entire complex is designed by an Australian architect. You can find different kinds of wave pools, Tornados, and Lazy river pools. It has something or the other for all ages. You can also enjoy various traditional and international cuisines in more than a few multi-cuisine restaurants.
4. Golden Beach, Chennai:
Golden beach is one more beach located close to the Dakshinachitra museum. It is known for its amazing recreational and enjoyment opportunities. Tourists love to spend some time in the serene atmosphere of this place away from the hustle and bustle of the place.
5. Besant Nagar Beach:
This is also known as Elliot’s Beach. It is considered to be one of the cleanest beaches in India. One can spend time sitting on the golden sand of the beach and staring at the never-ending stretch of the Bay of Bengal.
Collections at Dakshinachitra Museum
Dakshinachitra displays a wide range of collectibles that reflects the legacy of the South Indian lifestyles. Dakshinachitra is home to more than 4220 different artifacts and 1,000,000 pictorial representations of ancient times. Most of the artifacts are related to the art and craft of South India and countless contemporary subjects too.
The museum has more than 950 different kinds of South Indian apparel on display that was once worn by the men and women. Most of the apparel on display is made up of cotton or silk. Dakshinachitra has a wide range of journals and book collections as well. One can find a collection of books related to various subjects like arts and crafts, folklore, anthropology, and South Indian performance arts.
All the collections on display in the Dakshinachitra museum reflect the countless cultural and regional aspects of the Brahmanical people of South India. A tour through the specially designed houses and well-curated galleries will keep you amazed and give you a glimpse of the times gone by.
Other Essential Information About Dakshinachitra
Dakshinachitra is located on SH 49, Muttukadu, Tamil Nadu.
The museum opens for visitors from 10:00 AM in the morning and closes at 6:00 PM in the evening.
The entry fee for the Dakshinachitra Museum are as follows:
Adult Entry: INR 100
Children Entry: INR 30
Teacher Entry: INR 75
Student Entry: INR 50
School Student Tour Package: INR 120
Foreign Adult Entry: INR 250
Foreign Student Entry: INR 70
History of Dakshinachitra
Dakshinachitra was instigated by Madras Craft Foundation which was founded by a person named Deborah Thiagarajan in the year 1984. Dakshinachitra was crafted as a heritage village that would display the lifestyle of South Indian people. The journey of Dakshinachitra started in the year 1970 when Deborah Thiagarajan first visited Chennai.
Her drive was to preserve the cultural heritage of South India. In the year 1991, Dakshinachitra managed to get a land of 10 acres to set up the heritage village and also received various helping hands from the government, Madras Craft Foundation and countless industrialists.
Dakshinachitra has many lifetime sponsors like the Prakriti Foundation, National Folklore Support Centre, Office of the Development Commissioner for Handicrafts, Craft Council of India, Ford Foundation, Amethyst and many others as well. It has moved ahead to the present grandeur bit by bit and has been highly influential in preserving the culture of South India.
The Architecture of Dakshinachitra Museum
Dakshinachitra is built as a heritage village in Chennai that has about 18 different houses that exhibit various cultures of South India. The houses in Dakshinachitra are built with influences from some of the South Indian states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
The houses are designed and built by professional architectures and many architectural students, carpenters, and workers. The houses were initially purchased from various parts of South India and then demolished after paying the proper compensation to the original house owners.
The compensation paid to the original house owners was in the range starting from 50000 INR to 1.5 million INR. The houses were then brought to the heritage village and were reconstructed and refurbished. In order to preserve the cultural heritage of these houses, the demolition and reconstruction took place under the strict supervision of the Stapathis.
Not only the houses were reconstructed but the overall landscape of the village was sketched and designed in a new-fangled manner.
Places to Eat near Dakshinachitra
1. Sangeetha Veg Restaurant:
It is a South Indian restaurant that not only offers great food but it is also known for its amazing services. The restaurant offers all the necessary amenities to its customers like free valet parking and it also has wheelchair access. The best part of the restaurant is having food in the open area tables, which makes it available for great sights of the surroundings.
2. Rumman Food Court Multi-Cuisine Restaurant:
The Rumman food court and restaurant are widely held for its amazing breakfast options. It offers countless Indian and international cuisines at the best possible price and quality. One will definitely fall in love with its simplicity and cleanliness.
3. Palmyra Restaurant:
If you want to dine out inside the coconut country resort, then there is no better than having food at Palmyra. It offers amazing food and services in a pleasant and upmarket setting.
Travelers' Tip for Visiting Dakshinachitra
Here are some of the points you should consider before and during your visit to the Dakshinachitra:
1. Make sure that you do not touch any of the displayed artifacts.
2. Outside eatables are not allowed inside the museum premises.
3. There is a place for having food near the parking complex of the museum.
4. You can park your car at the designated parking complex.
5. In order to use cameras inside the museum, you need to pay 20 INR for still photography and 70 INR for videography.
6. If you want to indulge in the cultural influences of South India, you can spend time attending various workshops, performances, puppet shows, and training programs on local crafts like necklace crafting and basket weaving.