Almost twenty years ago, DakshinaChitra (which means 'a picture of the South') was first opened to the public. The living-history museum (better known as an open-air museum), outside of the city limits in Muttukadu, was founded by the Madras Craft Foundation. DakishinaChitra purchased traditional homes from different parts of South India and relocated them to the land where the museum is now established.
These homes then became a part of the experience, where visitors get to see the traditional lifestyle of those communities as they walk through each home. They have a Syrian Christian Home from Kerala which still has the furniture and kitchen utensils used by the community, so you get a feel of the culture by walking through the house. There is even The Chikmagalur House which was said to be built in 1914 and represents the culture of the Muslim community of Karnataka. In total, they have 18 relocated homes set up in the museum to tour through.
Filled with so much history, culture and heritage, it’s obvious that it wants to do more than just be a museum. In fact, the Madras Craft Foundation (MCF) was set up in 1984 as a means to promote and support the work done by artisans and folk artists in villages around South India. And through MCF and the setting up of DakshinaChitra, these artisans have not only been able to showcase their work, but also teach and participate in workshops.
While they do have a craft shop where visitors can purchase everything from jewellery to toys and décor, DakshinaChitra also works with NGOs to organise craft bazaars, where products made by craftspeople in villages around the South are displayed and sold. What’s even better is that visitors get to interact with the craftsmen themselves when they stop by their stall, to get a better understanding of what they’re selling.
Every month, DakshinaChitra has different events (puppet shows, glassblowing, etc.) and workshops that are open to the public. It is open every day, except Tuesdays, from 10 am to 6 pm. To enter and explore the museum, the fee is INR 100 (for Indian residents) and INR 250 (for international visitors).
Located right next to MGM Dizzee World, you can take buses (109 prefered) and get off at MGM Dizzee World.