Tamil Nadu

Thanjavur – Country of Gods & Kings

Between the 16th and 18th centuries, Thanjavur welcomed large communities of Telugu and Marathi speakers as a consequence of Nayaka and Maratha conquests in Cholamandalam. The result was a slow mingling and simmering of cultural influences, resulting in the unique artistic heritage of this temple town

Postcards from Madras

Postcards began at the end of the 19th century as a new kind of crossover between photography and the popular print market. In a collaboration with Picture Postcard Empire, we bring you a virtual exhibition of intriguing postcards from the city of Madras

The Making of Madras

The history of the Madras Presidency is also the history of an embryonic nation finding its identity under colonial rule. We take you through some key moments, movements and personalities that shaped Madras and what would in time become India

Trails & Tales

According to the prevailing view of cartography experts, maps can be categorised into two types: topographic or general maps, which might help you find your way around an area, and thematic maps, which serve to highlight specific features or a particular event, for eg, a battle plan. Regardless of their type, all maps tell a… Read more »

Family Portraiture: An attempt at reading a personal album

We dive into a study of family portraiture with a set of three albums belonging to John Sinclair, the First Lord Pentland, and the Governor of Madras between 1912 and 1919—and draw out the themes that emerge from this treasure trove of 20th-century photography

Aurangzeb, Silver Coin of Gingee Mint

Gingee was a formidable fort in southern Arcot in the erstwhile Carnatic region. It was captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1677 and remained in the hands of the Marathas until 1698. In this year, Shivaji’s son Rajaram Bhosle I ensconced himself in the fort in response to Aurangzeb’s advancing armies in the kingdom. Mughal… Read more »

Temple Towns

In Chettinad, we stopped at many temples and shrines and listened to tales both fantastical and illuminating

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.

Vinayaditya, Hoysala Dynasty, Gold Pagoda

The Hoysalas are perhaps best known for the beautiful works of architecture and sculpture they left behind. A Kannadiga empire that ruled areas of southern Deccan and the Cauvery valley between the 11th and 14th centuries CE, their origins have been traced to a group of hill-dwellers hailing from the region near present-day Halebid. Legend… Read more »

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 »

Chera, Copper, Un-inscribed

The Chera dynasty ruled in southern India during the Sangam age between 3rd Century BC and 9th Century AD. During this time, the biggest empires in the region were the Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas. The Cheras, who controlled the west Malabar coast, were the first powerful dynasty from Kerala and hence given the moniker Keralaputras,… Read more »