The Museum of Kerala History

Art and History Museum

A museum for understanding the history of Kerala and that too born out of an individual's efforts is among the few in India. The Art and History Museum complex has been the realization of Mr. R. Madhavan Nayar (1914-1996), a prominent industrialist and philanthropist. His passion for arts eventually led him to the establishment of the various units established under the Art and History Museums, which is currently managed by the Madhavan Nayar Foundation.

The Art and History Museum complex at Edappally in Kochi comprises Museum of Kerala History; Museum of Paintings and Sculptures, Museum of Indian Miniatures, Dolls' Museum and Centre for Visual Arts.

Museum of Kerala History
Housed in a circular domed building, the Museum of Kerala History is a sound and light spectacle. It works on a time frame, portraying the history of Kerala from early inhabitants to the modern era. Here one would come 38 life-size tableaux, each backed by multiple visuals, reflecting the cultural and social history of Kerala. This presentation is considered as the first of its kind in India.

Museum of paintings and sculptures
With over 200 original paintings and 30 odd sculptures by well known Indian artists, this museum unit is spread over three floors. Some of the noted Indian artists whose works are on display here include that of Ravi Varma, M. F. Hussain, F. N. Souza, Jamini Roy, Kishen Khanna and Nandalal Bose. This museum has among its displayed items a mural painting based on the Classical Sanskrit drama Shakuntalam, done in the traditional Kerala mural style. It is 25 ft. long by 5 ft. wide and is one of the largest in Kerala, noted for its fine attention to details.

Museum of Indian Miniatures
Featuring reproductions of Indian miniature art, the Museum of Indian Miniatures is yet another attraction at the Art and History Museum complex. Devoted exclusively to miniatures, the works are of Indian artists trained by Persian masters in the latter half of the 16th century during the reign of Emperor Akbar.

Dolls' Museum
And in the Dolls' Museum, visitors would be greeted by a wide range of Indian dolls. This museum has a collection of about a hundred and fifty hand-crafted dolls. The dolls represent young men and women, from Gujarat to Nagaland and from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. There are brides and bridegrooms from various Indian states; dance figures representing the rich repertoire of Indian classical dances as well as folk dances in groups.

Centre for Visual Arts
Another interesting part of the museum complex is the Centre for Visual Arts that houses about 500 reproductions of world's renowned painters like Leonardo da Vinci, Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh etc. Among the other attractions here are the huge reliefs of ancient India's sculptural masterpieces like Yakshi of Didarganj, Dwarapalaka (Ajanta) and the Woman and Parrot.

Projection Studio
Part of the Art and Museum complex is the Projection Studio. Here screening of visuals and specialized art related subjects to interested visitors and students of art are held. It has a CD collection worth 72 hours of projection time.

Visitors to this museum complex are greeted by the rich greenery in the museum premises. Located on the NH-47 connecting Ernakulam and Alwaye, the Art and Museum complex at Edappally in Kochi attracts visitors from diverse fields, including foreign and domestic tourists, school and college students, dignitaries, art lovers and casual visitors.

Madhavan Nayar Foundation
History and Art Complex
Kerala, India - 682 024
Tel: 91-484-2558296, 2541326, 2541768
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Museum of Kerala History, Edapally

The first thing that catches your eye as you enter the Museum of Kerala History at Edapally, near Kalamassery, is a huge statue of Sage Parasurama, who is believed to have created Kerala by reclaiming land from the seas. The museum is full of statues, paintings, and sculptures that unravel for you the history of Kerala - from the Neolithic period to the modern age.

Light and sound show
At the museum, there are nearly 90 life-like statues of people who made history in Kerala. A one-hour light and sound show with accompanying music and narration takes you to the past to witness Kerala’s journey over the last 2000 years. The inclusion of socio-cultural aspects of the various periods contributes greatly to the show. 

On display
Relics and artefacts of royalty, and those that were once part of ordinary households are on display. 

Mural painting
A mural, about 25 ft long and 5 ft wide, depicting a scene from the Sanskrit drama Shakunthalam by Kalidasa is on display. With its meticulous use of colours and attention to detail, it is an amazing piece of art. 

Art Gallery
The Gallery of Arts and Sculptures at the museum has many original pieces of work by illustrious, contemporary artists. The exhibits also provide a glimpse into the various phases of Indian art.

The artistes featured include acclaimed mural painter Mammiyoor Krishnan Kutty Nair, M F Hussain, the best-known painter in the country, Raja Ravi Varma, the painter-king,  Jamini Roy, Manu Parekh, Ram Kumar, Ganesh Haloi, Ganesh Pyne, Shyama Datta Roy, Sanjay Bhattacharya, Paresh Maithy, Sunil Das, B Sanyal, Bimal Das, Madhava Menon and so on. Paintings belonging to various states or regions, like Orissa and Bengal, and schools like the Thanjavoor school are also on display. 

Reproduction of masterpieces
The slide projection studio at the Centre for Visual Arts inside the museum displays reproductions of classics including works of Michael Angelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and Vincent Van Gogh. Different schools of art such as the Renaissance school, Cubism, Classicism, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism are well represented here.

About 50 sculptures created by various artists like D. P Roy Chaudhary, Bajaj, and Sarbari Chaudhary are also kept on display on various floors of the museum.

Gallery of Miniatures
The museum also houses miniatures belonging to various schools of art such as the Mughal, the Rajastani, the Pahari, the Deccan and so on. The complexity and precision of Indian miniature art is evidenced in the paintings.

Dolls museum
A dolls museum was set up here in 2000. There are more than 100 dolls on display, mostly from India and a few from other countries.

The beautifully hand-crafted Indian dolls represent people from various states of India such as the Gujaratis, the Nagas, the Kashmiris and the South Indians. Apart from dolls in traditional costumes, there are dolls dressed as peasants, brides and grooms and so on and others dressed as members of different castes engaged in various activities.


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