Museum objects, artifacts, and archival items from the Sarmaya collection.

Qutb Shahi Tombs, Hyderabad

Here is a view of the Qutb Shahi Tombs in Hyderabad, as captured by Lala Deen Dayal. Located near the historic Golconda Fort, the tombs are an indelible part of Hyderabad’s skyline. Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah founded the city in 1591 by, moving away from the historic capital at Golconda. The Qutb Shahi empire was… Read more »

Havva ki Nakahi

Havva ki Nakahi is part of a suite of seventeen works called Naguftaha – e – Hawwa (The unspoken words of Hawwa) that, in gallerist Mortimer Chatterjee’s words, “explores the relationship of Adam and Eve (Havva ) in the Islamic tradition and the ejection of Eve from heaven”. The work is a typical example of… Read more »

Indian Jewellery

This early 20th century book remains one of the most definitive surveys of Indian jewellery. It showcases native ornaments from across British India, divided into ten regional sections: Delhi and the United Provinces of Agra and Oud; Rajputana and Malwa; Panjab, Kashmir, Afghanistan; Bombay Presidency; Bombay [and Central Provinces]; Madras Presidency; Bengal; Eastern Bengal and… Read more »

Pagodas at Maugry with a distant view of Sewandroog

Sewandoorg (Savandurga) is a prominent hill in Karnataka. It was fortified in 1543 by an officer of the Vijayanagara kings. It was then acquired by the chief of Bangalore in 1570, with whom it remained until it was taken by Mysore in 1728. During Lord Cornwallis’ exploits in 1791, it was captured by the British.… Read more »

Untitled (Bhil Painting)

Bhil painting, traditionally made on walls, is practiced today on canvas by one of the oldest tribal communities of India – the Bhils. Residing in the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, etc, they live lives that are intricately connected with nature. This aspect is clearly evident in their art. The Bhils use dashes and… Read more »

Study III: Sea of Untold Stories

In this painting Desmond Lazaro is highlighting his personal experience of belonging to two different places, a theme he addresses in a large number of his works. It is a miniature composition of a white bird (assumed to be a dove) resting on top of a three-paneled box, with a minimal colour palette and handmade… Read more »

Khandala Railway Station

This photograph of the Khandala railway station in the Bombay Presidency (today in Maharashtra) is attributed to Alice Tredwell, a mid nineteenth century railway contractor and photographer. She had arrived in India with her husband, Solomon Tredwell, a railway contractor in 1859 for working on the completion of the Bhor Ghat section of the Great… Read more »

Untitled Album featuring Tuensang Village, Nagaland

Acquired from the collection of the late BG Verghese, former editor of the Hindustan Times in the early Seventies, this album features a collection of photographs from Tuensang Village, in eastern Nagaland and bordering Myanmar. It shows members of the Sumi tribe, along with those of other unidentified tribes celebrating Tuluni festival. The Sumis are… Read more »

Janmashthmi Pichwai

Shrinathji is the presiding deity of the Pushtimarg Vaishnava religion. The spiritual home of Shrinathji is in Nathdwara, near Udaipur. Though devotees flock to the temple town for darshan eight times a day, festivals such as Janmashtami, Sharad Purnima, and Holi receive large crowds. Devotees often tend to leave this place of devotion with a… Read more »

East view of Seringapatam

The walled city of Seringapatam or Srirangapatnam as it is renowned today was the capital of Mysore, under the Muslim rulers Haidar Ali (c.1722 – 1782) and his eldest son, Tipu Sultan (1753 -1799). The fortress was built near the Kaveri river and named after the ancient Hindu temple of Sri Ranganatha Swami, located at… Read more »

Untitled #11

Saubiya Chasmawala’s recent series of works employs materials like ink and calligraphy tools that speak of filial as well as political histories of mark-making, to situate them in the present context of drawing as performance. As Skye Arundhati Thomas writes in the catalogue for Chasmawala’s solo show Batin, “It is as though she renews an… Read more »

Narrative of the Indian Revolt

The Revolt of 1857 was a large-scale display of active resistance against the British East India Company. It was the first time British dominance on the Indian subcontinent was so evidently called into question. The book illustrates and describes the uprising, narrated by Colin Cambell, Commander-in-Chief in India (1846-1853), mostly based on official letters, dispatches… Read more »

The Owl and Peacock Story

Gond is a celebrated shared art tradition practiced by the Gond-Pradhan community in India. It was first ‘discovered’ by Jayant Swaminathan who was searching for original artworks from Indian tribes in the 1970s. The search ended with him meeting the talented artist Jangarh Singh Shyam, considered the pioneer of Gond art. The themes of the… Read more »

Untitled (Ras Leela and other episodes from the Bhagwat Purana)

Mithila painting is a traditional mural artform from Madhubani district, Bihar. The artform is known to be a woman’s preserve, one that has roots in the wedding rituals of the Maithil community. Today, many artists from both genders create canvases filled with depictions of religious gods and symbols, socio-political issues as well as rural and… Read more »


This map is of Bijapur (Now, Vijayapura), an erstwhile melting pot of cultures, and the capital of the Bijapur Sultanate in the Deccan region of India (presently part of the state of Karnataka). Once called the Palmyra of the Deccan, Bijapur was described by Henry Cousens as a place with ‘Palaces, arches, tombs, cisterns, gateways,… Read more »

Mother and Child

“Mother and Child” is a live portrait of a woman and her child who had just moved in next-door to Siji Krishnan. In the image we find representational elements like the red comb that was in the woman’s hair when she first met the artist, but most of it, as Krishnan suggests, is more about… Read more »

Gopashtami Pichwai with Twenty Shringars

Shrinathji is the presiding deity of the Pushtimarg Vaishnava religion. The spiritual home of Shrinathji is in Nathdwara, near Udaipur. Though devotees flock to the temple town for darshan eight times a day, festivals such as Janmashtami, Sharad Purnima, and Holi receive large crowds. Devotees often tend to leave with a special souvenir, that is,… Read more »

Premier Tableau: Taking of the Fort and City of Seringapatam, 4th may 1799

This Engraving by French illustrator and engraver Jean Duplessis-Bertaux is the Premier Tableau that depicts the siege of Seringapatam on the 4th of May, 1799. Jean Duplessis-Bertaux’s famous works include many representations of scenes of the French Revolution. Tipu Sultan’s formidable fortress at Seringapatam was breached after a month of relentless attacks by the British… Read more »

Northern Gate of Sanchi Stupa

This photograph is of the Sanchi Stupa, which is one of the oldest and finest examples of Buddhist architecture synchronizing with the rise and fall of Buddhism in India. It was taken in 1882 by Lala Deen Dayal. The Sanchi Stupa is one of the oldest and finest example of the architecture of the Shunga… Read more »