Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala

Sri Chitra Art Gallery

The Sri Chitralayam, popularly known as Sri Chitra Art Gallery, was opened to the public by the erstwhile Maharaja of Travancore Sri Chitra Thirunal on the 25th of September 1935 for the enjoyment, education and development of artistic taste of the people. It has a collection of paintings representing the various genres of paintings in India, along with a few from other parts of Asia with a distinct stamp of Indian culture.

The Gallery was reconstructed out of two bungalows side by side in the museum Gardens. The Construction, furnishing of exhibits and hanging was done under the direction of Dr. Cousins, the well known exponent of art and literature. He was instrumental in assembling this collection of paintings from various places. He spared no efforts in furnishing this gallery with rare and representative specimens of paintings from near and far. A large collection of paintings is a generous gift from the Royal House of Travancore and also from Kilimanoor Royal family.

The major attraction of Sri Chitra Art Gallery is the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma. He is one among the greatest painters of India.

Raja Ravi Varma rose to international fame when he won an award at the exhibition of paintings in Vienna in 1873. Ravi Varma is particularly acclaimed for his paintings depiciting the mythological characters. Hamsa Damayanthi, Sakunthala, Gypsies of South India, Milk Maid and Mohini Rugmangada are among his renowned paintings. Paintings of other members of the Kilimanoor Royal family, consisting of Raja Raja Varma, C. Raja Raja Varma, Mangala Bai Thampurati and Rama Varma Raja are a rare collection. The paintings of Rama Swamy Naidu, Govindan Achari, K. Padmanabhan Thampi, V. S. Valiyathan, B. Krishna lyer, K. Rama Krishnan Achari also enrich this section.

Bengal School Paintings
A Group of students pioneered by Abanindranath Tagore, nephew of Rabindranath Tagore, infused a new life into fine arts by reinventing the traditional idioms to suit modern tastes. The Artists of Bengal in the early twentieth century thus heralded the dawn of the Indian Renaissance in art. The gallery includes the works of Abanindranath Tagore, Gogonendranath Tagore followed by Rabindranath Tagore, A. P. Dube, Sarada Charan Ukil, Ranada Charan Ukil, Pramode Kumar Chatterjee, Nandalal Bose, D. P. Roy Chaudhari, Ardhendhu Prasad Banarjee, Kanu Desai and Manishidey. 

Nicholas Roerich & Svetoslav Roerich
The paintings of the Russian artists Nicholas Roerich and his son Svetoslav Roerich based on the breathtaking landscapes of the Himalayas, particularly the Kulu and Manali regions displayed in the gallery adds a passionate, mystical, musical and spiritual feeling in the minds and heart of viewers.

Contemporary painters
K. Madhava Menon, Haridasan, C. K. Ramakrishnan, M. R. D. Dethan, Malayattoor Ramakrishnan, Gowrisankar, P. T. Mathew, G. Rajendran, N. N. Nambiar, C. N. Karunakaran, Kanayi Kunhiraman, Kattoor Narayana Pillai, B. D. Dethan, Yuseph Arackal and Nemom Pushparaj are the painters from Kerala whose Contemporary works are exhibited here.

Murals: Mural Paintings developed as decoration of walls of palaces, temples and churches. Murals are done using natural pigments and vegetable colours. Mural paintings copied from the Buddhist temples, Monasteries of Ajanta, Bagh Murals and Kerala Murals from Padmanabhapuram Palace, Mattancheri palace in Kochi etc. are on display. Under the Ajanta murals, there are seven pictures of which six have been presented to the Sree Chitra Art Gallery by the Nizam of Hyderabad in whose Dominions the Caves of Ajanta were then situated. The copies are done by Syed Ahmed, the Curator of Ajanta.

Art from Bali: An art form of Hindu-Javanese origin, that grew from the works of artisans of the Majapahit Kingdom, with their expansion to Bali in the late 13th century. These two-dimensional drawings are traditionally drawn on cloth or bark paper with natural dyes. The colouring is limited to the use of natural dyes. Figures and ornamentation follow strictly prescribed rules, since they are rendered for ritual articles and temple hangings.

Tanjore Painting: A Classical painting style, native to Tanjavur in Tamil Nadu and dating back to 1600 CE, a period when Nayakas of Tanjavur encouraged various forms of art. These Paintings are known for their surface richness, vivid colours and compact compositions. Most of these paintings are of Hindu gods and goddesses, and saints as well. Once the drawing is made, decoration of the jewellery and the apparels in the image is done with semiprecious stones. Laces or threads are also used to decorate the jewellery. Gold foils are pasted on top. High quality gold foil is used to ensure that the paintings last for generations.

Tibetan Thanga: These are painted or embroidered Buddhist banner, hung in monasteries and occasionally carried by monks in ceremonial processions. In Tibetan language, thanga means flat, and thus the Thanga is a kind of painting done on flat surface and rolled up when not required for display. The thangas served as important teaching tools depicting the life of the Buddha, various influential Lamas and other deities as well

Mughal Painting: A particular style of Indian painting, generally confined to miniatures either as book illustrations or as single works to be kept in albums. This was emerged from the Persian miniature style and developed during the Mughal period with Indian influences.

Rajastani Painting: Miniature painting that developed mainly in Rajasthan. It differs from the Mughal painting by its bolder use of colour, stylized depiction of the human figure and an ornamental treatment of landscape. The subjects principally depicted are the legends of Lord Krishna and Radha. In the 18th century court portraits, court scenes, and hunting scenes became increasingly common.

Location & Approach 
The Sree Chitra Art Gallery is situated in the Museum and Zoo campus right in the heart of the Thiruvananthapuram City

  • 3 Kms fromThampanoor Bus Station
  • 3 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station
  • 9 Kms from the Airport

Approachable by frequent Buses, Auto-rickshaws, Taxi cars etc

Admission Fee

Person above 12 years     Rs. 20.00/-
Person below 12 years & above 5 years              Rs.   5.00/-
Family tickets (Father, Mother & Two Children)         Rs.  40.00/-
Group (35 Students & Two Teachers)   Rs. 150.00/-
Car Parking                                                                  Rs.  150.00/-

On Sale 

Prints of Raja Ravi Varma paintings(Big)                Rs. 150.00 /-
Prints of Raja Ravi Varma paintings(Small)             Rs. 100.00/-
Monograph on Raja Ravi Varma                        Rs. 500.00/-
Booklet on Raja Ravi Varma  Rs. 25.00/-
Post card size prints of Raja Ravi Varma paintings                                  Rs.  10.00/-
Post card size prints of Bengal School& Contemporary paintings            Rs.  10.00/-

Visiting Time

10:00 AM. to 5:00 PM
Wednesday 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Ticket Sales up to 4:30 PM
Monday Holiday

For Further Details:
+91 471 2316275 | 2318294 

Cultural News