Located outside of Chennai, the DakshinaChitra is a living museum that depicts life, art, culture, and architecture of Southern India, including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. DakshinaChitra features 18 authentic historical houses that were deconstructed from their original region and then reconstructed by artisans from the region on the grounds of the museum. Each of the houses features exhibits that represent the region’s art and daily life. Although we visited during an off time, the museum features typical artisans and performers from the various regions that you can interact with, thus making it a living museum.
DakshinaChitra actually means picture of the south, which is what the living museum is meant to represent. There are opportunities to participate in making crafts and folk performances happen at different times. Regardless of the interactive activities, just wandering the trails and going inside of each of the houses is a wonderful experience. Each of the regions is unique in their own ways and that can be seen by the varied architecture, arts, and crafts that can be found in the different houses. The museum opened in 1996 and has continued to grow ever since.
We spent a couple of hours walking the grounds, visiting the various houses, and admiring the displays. In many ways it was overwhelming, like many of our experiences in Chennai, but we were definitely glad that we took the time to go there. If you visit Chennai, we would highly recommend taking the time to go to DakshinaChitra and learn about all of the regions of Southern India.