“What was your favorite part of the trip to Chennai?” I asked my six year old.
“Dakshina Chitra” She replied without even blinking first.
I’m not surprised, it really is a wonderful place.
Dakshina Chitra is a heritage center just outside Chennai, on the way to the beautiful beach town of Mahabalipuram.
According to my dad, who is normally right about these things, the English translation of Dakshina Chitra is ‘Southern Arts’. I think the Sanskrit name sounds much better, but it is what the name says – a center showcasing traditional art and craft traditions from Southern India.
Being a history geek, I loved wandering around the old houses from different times and places in Southern India imagining what it must have been like to live in them. There was even one that looked just like my grandparents’ house. I was transported back in time to my grandmother’s childhood in Tirunelveli. Fascinating.
The very best thing about Dakshina Chitra however, is that it is a hands on, interactive sort of place.
My six year old made puppets out of palm leaves, learned about using a potter’s wheel, helped to weave a basket, painted clay ornaments, and inspected different types of looms, amongst a variety of other activities. We were there for the whole afternoon, and there was no complaining of any sort. She was in heaven.
If you like making things with your hands, and are in the Chennai area, visit this place.