Dakshina Chitra – Flavour the Culture & Heritage of South India (ECR, Chennai)


Dakshina Chitra in East Coast Road (ECR), Chennai offers a glimpse of the culture and heritage of the bygone era in South India. It’s by far the most different tourist destination I have seen in Chennai. The change is refreshing. I didn’t expect to see the scale at which cultural heritage of South India has been recreated here. Their efforts to support craftsmen and artists of the region is laudable.


That is an open amphitheater. Not sure if any event/festival is conducted here, nothing was going on when I went. Dakshina Chitra conducts a lot of events where artists skilled in traditional art forms (music, dance, etc.) are invited to perform. They also conduct workshops for both children and adults where one can learn things like chitrakathi paintings, pottery, card modeling, etc. If you are lucky, you get to see some exhibitions (of paintings, etc.), as well. You can check the current events/workshops from here.


As per the poster stuck on the wall near the entrance, we can try the following activities at Dakshina Chitra – Pot painting, block printing, mehendi, kolam, palm leaf puppet making, shell craft, kite making, basket making, pottery, pounding paddy, kalamkari, paper mache painting, bead work, paper house making, tic tak, top spinning, candle making, paper bag making. Hmmm… I should have come to this place when I was younger! πŸ™‚

Once we enter the campus, there are four sections – Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh & Karnataka. In each section, we can find houses belonging to the bygone era of the respective state. Photos of four houses (one from each state) can be seen below –

Tamil Nadu:


Andhra Pradesh:



Each house was filled with items that was used by people back then. There were many statues, furniture, crockery items, puja items, decorative items, utility items, models of people, etc. Have a look at what was inside some of these houses –







Of course there were many many more interesting items and I have so many photos. But due to my self-imposed limit of 14 photos for this post, I have selected only a handful of them. The Tamil Nadu and Kerala sections were quite large with many houses/articles, but the AP and Karnataka sections were relatively smaller. If at all you want to get a glimpse of our heritage, ancestral-life and culture, this is the place to visit in Chennai.


There were many shops (like the above) selling handicraft items, clothing items, pottery items, decorative items and much more. The most interesting thing about these shops were, they were selling pottery items from inside a model potter’s house (for example)! The way they blend shopping with culture and heritage is unique to this place. Of course, if we buy something, we will be supporting the craftsmen who are still practicing ancient crafts. There was also a large restaurant shaped like one of those Kerala palaces!

The place is maintained very neatly and it is worth the Rs. 100 (incl. 10 rupees for camera) entrance fees charged by them. It will take half a day to see the various houses and exhibits (minimum), so be prepared for it. I was short of time, hence was not able to see fully! Excellent tourist destination for families from inside Chennai and (especially for) tourists from outside Chennai. I wonder why I did not visit this place earlier!

Further info/Website: Dakshina Chitra

Destination Infinity

Photos: Destination8Infinity. All photos published under this creative commons license.


    • Rajesh K

      I guess we all do. Only if we can stay in one of those houses for a couple of days, it might be even better πŸ™‚

      Destination Infinity

    • Rajesh K

      Yes, the maintenance is good. There are so many toilets at various places, just to mention one aspect.

      Destination Infinity

  • Jeevan

    This is another place I wanted to visit for long time… I have recommended this place for couple of them, but I couldn’t visit. I hope my grandma will enjoy the activities hold there, since she involves in many handicraft works at home. These are priceless to check and learning the previous lifestyle.

    Thanks for the post and pictures! Hope to visit in coming year.

    • Rajesh K

      Yes, people involved in handicrafts will love it. Also, it’s a good chance for people who are not involved in handicrafts, to learn a little.

      Destination Infinity

  • Rakesh Vanamali

    So glad that i was able to visit there during my Chennai stint. It is a marvelous place. Thanks for sharing this masterpiece………. it evoked in a me a great deal of wonderful memories.

    • Rajesh K

      They have blended shopping with history and heritage, quite well, here. I wish they allow us to live in one of those houses for a couple of days! πŸ™‚

      Destination Infinity

    • Rajesh K

      Is it? Good then πŸ™‚ I didn’t have time to cover this place fully. I have to go once again, I guess!

      Destination Infinity

  • rahul aggarwal

    Rajesh Sir, i always thought Chennai is one place where there’s nothing much to explore but your every post about Chennai and surrounding places proves me wrong! πŸ™‚

  • PN Subramanian

    Of course it is a nice place. Fortunately I had the opportunity of visiting The Museum of Man (Manav Sangrahalay) at Bhopal which is 10 to 15 times larger than Dakshin Chitra. You would be spell bound. It may take 2 days to completely appreciate that site. The whole of India is represented with real houses. Apart from that they have beautiful galleries too.