Spotlight

Sarmaya Spotlight is a magazine-style digital property that explores various themes in the universe of Indian history, art and culture through objects in our collection. Each issue of Spotlight includes interviews, articles, videos, 101 guides, virtual tours and social media campaigns. Browse our archive of over 30 Spotlights below.

June 2020

Tholu Bommalaata


A Tholu Bommalaata performer pours their whole person into not telling, but showing you a story. Their hands cut, cure and craft the leather puppets. Their strong voices send the epics soaring into the night air. Every muscle in their body, from the arms working the figures to the toes beating out a rhythm on… Read more »

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February 2020

Flowers for Spring


Vasantam. Basant. Spring. A time to put away the winter greys and take a deep breath before the onslaught of summer. About now, the earth itself seems to get in the spirit of things by spreading a crazy quilt of colours over the landscape. Flowers don’t care where they bloom, whether in a perfumed garden… Read more »

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January 2020

The Hyderabad Affair


If you’ve never been to Hyderabad, you might associate certain stereotypical things with it, like the jaw-dropping Nizam’s jewels that leave the vaults of the RBI to make their appearances at crowded exhibitions now and again. Or what many consider the definitive dum biryani—and they’re willing to fight you over this. Or the behemoth that… Read more »

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November 2019

Festivals of India


When we attempt to express in English the reasons why we celebrate what we do in India, there’s a tendency to fall back on some cliched answers. We celebrate the harvest in our concrete jungles, or ‘the triumph of good over evil’, or the birth of a great soul, a mahatma. These are accurate reasons,… Read more »

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October 2019

History of Style


Class, caste, gender, faith, community, identity. We give away so much of who we through what we wear. Looking at 19th-century photographs and watercolour portraits from the Indian subcontinent, it might seem like our ancestors dressed more conservatively, seeking to hide everything but their social status which they wore like an armour. But we can… Read more »

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September 2019

Battles & Battlefields


Come with us as we visit the bloodiest battlefields in our archives and find stories both inspiring and hair-raising. There are heroes here and villains too. But there’s a little bit of truth in both their accounts. While the British may have over-stretched their imagination while documenting the Uprising of 1857, they were grudging in… Read more »

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July 2019

This Just In


Before you try to find it, let us clarify right away that there isn’t a common thread connecting the five artists in our Spotlight this month. The art of Bhupen Khakhar, Shakuntala Kulkarni, Manisha Gera Baswani, Dibin Thilakan and Gopa Trivedi are covered by the umbrella term ‘modern and contemporary art’ but this slightly worn… Read more »

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June 2019

Magnificent Beasts


Without animals, human history, culture and art would look very different. Whenever language has failed us, we have sought inspiration from these voiceless co-passengers hurtling with us through space on a blue planet. When we want to represent wealth and power beyond all imagining, we summon up the elephant. When we want to symbolise valour… Read more »

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May 2019

City of Stars


From a poor little island to the first city of India. We go back in time to visit the sleepy port town at the heart of the Bombay Presidency that would transform into the Mumbai of today. We bring you rare photographs, engravings and other precious archival material to piece together a picture of how… Read more »

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May 2019

Sacred Space


The earliest temple was a humble place that served as a conduit between hope and whatever higher power held human fates in its hand. As faith in this unseen hand grew, so did the edifice that gathered the hopeful. Today, temples are among the richest repositories of our nation’s artistic, social and cultural legacies. Join… Read more »

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