Government Museum, Chennai
Well worth visiting , the Government Museum is on Pantheon Road
between Egmore and Anna Salai. The building originally belonged to
a group of eminent British citizens, known as the Pantheon
Committee, who were responsible for improving the social life of
the British in Madras. The Main Building has a fine archaeological
section representing all the major South Indian periods including
Chola, Vijayanagar, Hoysala and Chalukya. It also houses a good
ethnology collection. The bronze gallery has a superb collection
of Chola art. One of the most impressive is the bronze of
Ardhanariswara, the androgynous incarnation of Shiva. The museum
complex is open 9.30 am to 5 pm; closed Friday and public
National Art Gallery, Chennai
The National Art Gallery was established in 1857. There are
sections on geology, archaeology anthropology, numismatics,
botany, zoology and sculpture, besides a collection of armoury.
Silappathikara Art Gallery, Poompuhar
A beautiful seven tired building of great sculptural value has
been built as Sillappathikara Art Gallery. The first storey is 12"
high, and each storey above it has a height of 5' . The topmost
part which has 'Kalasams with a height of 8'. The total height of
Art gallery is 50'.
The 'Magara Thoranavayil' at the entrance of the Art Gallery
imparts an imposing and beautiful look to the whole structure. Its
height is 22½'. It has been designed on the pattern of Magara
Thorana Vayil, found in Suruli Malai Mangala Devi Koil. There is
also an anklet shaped tank in the Art-Gallery. On this side of
this tank are installed the statues of Kannagi (9½') and Mathavi
Scenes from Sillappathikaram, the Epic of the land have been given
lively shapes in stones on the walls of the Gallery. These
sculptures carved by the sculptors of Mamallapuram Art College
remain the treasure house of Tamil Culture.
Government Museums at Ooty
The government museum, Mysore Road, Ooty has items of tribal
objects, district's ecological details and representative
sculptural arts and crafts of Tamil Nadu. It was set up in 1989,
with a view to provide education benefits to the residing and
visiting population of Nilgiris district.
Thanjavur Art Gallery
A remarkable collection of south Indian sculptures and paintings
is housed in the old palace buildings at Thanjavur (Tanjore).
Thanjavur has been an art centre of great importance throughout
almost the entire history of Tamil Nadu. During the Chola period,
two magnificent temples were built in this region, the
Brihadeswara Temple and the Gangaikondacholapuram Temple ( tenth
to 11th centuries). Today, the town is a flourishing centre for
bronze sculpture, stonework and paintings.
The palace was originally built by the Nayak rulers of Tamil Nadu.
It was this dynasty that added to and enlarged many of the
temples, with ornate and often huge sculptures. The palace
building, set within a large compound, also contains the Saraswati
Library and the Sangeetha Sabha, or Music Hall.
Within the museum there is a gallery with a representative
collection of stone sculpture from the Pallava, Chola, Pandya and
Nayaka periods. Another gallery contains samples of the
characteristic glass paintings of Tanjore.
Hours: 9 am-1 pm; 3-6 pm except government holidays, especially
those of importance in south India.