South India

Map of Tritchinapoly

This map titled, A Map Of The Country Extending Ten Miles To The West, And Eighteen To The East Of Tritchinapoly, was created by cartographer and engraver Thomas Kitchin. Trichinopoly was a central backdrop to the Carnatic wars in mid 18th century India. The Seven Years’ War interaction on the Indian subcontinent between 1757 to… Read more »

Great Pagoda of the Brihadishwara Temple, Tanjore

The Brihadishwara Temple at Thanjavur marks the acme of the Southern Temple Architecture, in magnitude, design, technique, and art. This Great Temple, built between AD 1003 to 1010, is also called the Rajarajeshvara after its builder Rajaraja I, the great Chola Ruler. The Temple complex consists of various subsidiary shrines of different deities, and an… Read more »

The mythical origins of shadow puppets

Made in China, made in India, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, or even Turkey, the tradition of shadow puppets has survived for a long time, the second century BC, some say. But as is also custom, scholars have many disagreements on its origins. Folklorist Stuart Blackburn suggests that this tradition, like Buddhism, travelled to the rest of… Read more »

Map of the Coasts of Malabar, Coromandel and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka)

Johann Baptist Homann was a German cartographer, geographer, publisher and engraver of the mid-17th century. His family business was perhaps the most famous German map publishing firm in the world at the time. Their company, Homann Heirs, was functional till the late 1800s. Homann was also appointed Imperial Geographer by the emperor, Charles VI.

The Nizam of Hyderabad

The tradition of painted photography was a syncretic visual culture of photography and painting, which began in India in the 19th century, almost at the same time as photography came to India. This genre became extremely popular in the country for two main reasons. One, it brought colour to the relatively quiet world of black… Read more »

Srirangapatna; Palace of Tipu Sultan

This is a Johnson and Henderson image showing the Dariya Daulat Bagh built by Tipu Sultan in his capital city of Seringapatnam, Karnataka. It is a low wooden structure with a collonaded porch around it, and was used by Tipu Sultan as his summer palace.

Madras; Native Fishermen

Fishing in India is a community based profession, and the fishemen communities in Tamil Nadu comprise Mukkuvar, Paravar, Chetti, and Pattinavar among others. The three native fishermen in the photograph are seen here on the Madras(now Chennai) shoreline donning the local attire. Their traditional boat, known as the kattumaram was the first two hull boat… Read more »

Omens and Superstitions of Southern India

This book deals mainly with some aspects of what may be termed the psychical life of the inhabitants of the Madras Presidency, and the Native States of Travancore and Cochin. There are elaborate descriptions of snake worship, magic and charms.

Devaraya I, Vijayanagara, Gold Pagoda

This is a gold pagoda type coin issued by Vinayaditya, the third Hoysala king of the Vijayanagara Empire. The reverse has an inscription “Sri Pratapa Devaraya” and the obverse has the icon of Uma-Maheshwara in embrace. The figure of Parvati is seated in padmasana with hands folded in the anjali mudra, while Shiva is four-armed… Read more »

Frederik VI, 10 Cash Copper Coin of Tranquebar Mint

This is a X kas or 10 Cash coin of Indo-Danish extraction. Relic of an empire we don’t often mention when we talk about colonial rule in India. The Danes made an official appearance in these parts after the monarch of Denmark, King Christian IV signed a charter for the establishment of the Danish East… Read more »

The North Entrance of Bangalore Fort

This is an aquatint engraving showing the northern entrance of the Bangalore fort post the attack on Bangalore by the British East India Company during the Third Aglo-Mysore War in 1791. The war was fought between the British army and the king of Mysore Tipu Sultan, who was defeated and the fort was captured. This… Read more »

The South Entrance into the Fort of Bangalore (now Bengaluru)

This is an aquatint engraving showing the southern entrance of the Bangalore fort post the attack on Bangalore by the British East India Company during the Third Aglo-Mysore War in 1791. The war was fought between the British army and the king of Mysore Tipu Sultan, who was defeated and the fort was captured. This… Read more »

Music Gallery of The Mosque, Seringapatam

This engraving is after a painting by James Hunter, from his collection of illustrations titled “Picturesque Scenery in the Kingdom of Mysore”. James Hunter worked for the Royal British Artillery in India and took part in the campaigns against Tipu Sultan. After the signing of the Treaty of Seringapatnam (Srirangapathnam), Hunter took permission from Tipu… Read more »

Raja Raja Chola I, Silver Fanam

Raja Raja Chola I was a renowned king who ruled over the Chola kingdom in southern India from 985 to 1014 CE. Regarded by many as one of the greatest kings in Indian history, he was a celebrated conqueror and an efficient administrator. It was during his reign that the Cholas were able to subdue… Read more »

View of the Forts on the Hills of Veloor

This is an engraving of the hill fort of Vellore by J. Cheevers. The image shows a full-scale view of the fort, complete with walls and walkways leading up along the mountain. Vellore Fort is an important landmark in the history and culture of the state of Tamil Nadu, being built in the 16th century… Read more »