In and around Tamil Nadu’s DakshinaChitra- Two new projects to showcase Calicut and Kodava architecture

Chennai’s celebrated museum has resumed construction of heritage houses Calicut and Kodava houses employing artisans and carpenters from Kerala. Buzzing with school children and tourists again, the living museum, DakshinaChitra has been a custodian of Madras cultural heritage since its inception in December 1996.

As Schools and colleges have again started to organise the  field trips, the vast prescient of DakshinaChitra is gearing to offer glimpse of local craft and vernacular architecture.Apart from Workshops, artisan demonstrations, galleries filled with a score of of artefacts from across the country two new projects will showcase the houses of local communities to give the demonstration of the life the Western Ghats.

They resumed construction of community dwellings- Calicut and Coorg (Kodava) house this April with the hope to open its doors during summer 2023. The Calicut home belonged to a Muslim family which is being reconstructed with team of 12 carpenters from Kerala, who carefully worked to reconstruct the home exactly as it was. They have also engaged Benny Kuriakose and his team of architects as well as a team from Auroville to set this up.

“The Kodava house will focus at the the Vanishing Kodavas by Kaveri Ponappa, and this project will be bolstered by the presence of the Sandooka—The Living Museum of Kodava Culture , an interactive virtual museum expected to be formally launched in 2023 as well,” mentions Nambiar.

According to Sharath Nambiar, director, DakshinaChitra is happy that the grounds are now slowly coming back to life. “For the first time since 2020, we have crossed pre-pandemic numbers in terms of visitors and footfall. Our expanse of over 10 acres is now brimming with energy and activity. We even have 22 artist stalls with live demonstrations and are looking to add more to the roster,” he says.

They intend to organise a  grand showcase in January 2023, with a flower show, workshops, and prizes for the city’s best home gardens, bonsai, terrace and vegetable gardens, as well as ikebana and other techniques. As of now the museum readies itself for a hectic Margazhi season packed with performances, as well as a December anniversary celebration welcoming the spirited folk performances and a unique exhibition showcasing the state of Arunachal Pradesh.

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