Turning Passion to Purpose







Chittorgarh; Kal, Aaj Aur Kal

Chittorgarh, Chittorgarh District, Rajasthan

The project aims at documenting architectural styles of the fort and other monuments in the Chittorgarh fort. Understanding the life-ways of people associated with the fort and changes brought by tourism as well as modern times is the thrust of the project.


Punjab Re-discovered

Patiala, Ludhiana, Amritsar and Chandigarh in Punjab

The project explores the spirit of Punjab, its people, religion, cuisine, and contribution to the armed forces against this backdrop. This project explores Punjab beyond the aura of the green revolution and its image of prosperity to uncover a new discontent stirring beneath the surface. 



Sircilla, Karimnagar District, Telangana

This project is aimed at documenting the traditional art of weaving in remote parts of Andhra Pradesh, focusing on traditional designs, motifs and styles. Understanding the life-style of the weaving community, changes ushered in modern times, and loss of livelihoods leading to alarming rates of weavers suicides is the focus of the project.


Kochi Evedeya

Kochi, Ernakulam District, Kerala

The project aims to document and analyze this diverse fabric of Cochin by observing the life-ways of Portuguese, Syrian Jewish, matriarchal Brahmancial and fishing communities of Cochin. Understanding characteristic features of this diversity in today’s changing times will be the focus of the project.



Bikaner District, Rajasthan

This project aims to study the variety of turbans worn by different communities in Bikaner. The diversity reflected in shape, size, colours, nomenclature and ways of wearing a turban across the communities is the focus of this project.


Milestone 5839; Tracking India’s Plural Culture

Various (Chennai to Chandigarh)

Documenting the geographical, social and cultural diversity along one of the longest train routes in the country is the focus of this project. Starting from a metropolis in south India and reaching to a planned city in northwest India, this project would look at the life around railway stations, socio-cultural-economic composition of the travellers and a variety of professions that thrive in and around railways.


Jaisalmer Project, Redefining Art, Culture and Livelihood

Jaisalmer District, Rajasthan

The project aims to study evolution of architectural styles of various historical monuments at Jaisalmer. Situating these monuments in the dessert surroundings and analyzing symbiotic relationship between the monuments and landscape would be the focus of the project. Understanding the life-ways of traditional artisans and other professionals around these monuments is also envisaged.


In the Land of the Gods

Joshimath, Badrinath, Mana in Uttarakhand

Understanding and documenting the myths, rituals and historical-religious significance of these places is the focus of this project. It also aims to understand the impacts of tourism, globalization and commercialization on the character of these ancient places and on the local community.


The Neilgherries Speak

Ootacamund, The Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu

The project studies life-ways of two prominent tribes of the region, Todas and Kotas. Focusing on their livelihood practices, customs, beliefs and traditions, the project attempts to understand the impacts of globalization and technological progress on the lives of these ancient tribes.


Chung Chung Tibet

Bylakuppe, Mysore District, Karnataka

The project aims to document and study the monuments, customs, beliefs, religion and life-ways of this community and bring out the contrasts, interactions as well as adaptations of this group of people living amidst Indian cultural tradition over a long period of time.


Ancient Entrepreneurs of Andhra Pradesh

Boboli, Andhra Pradesh

The project focuses on studying and understanding varied traditional entrepreneurial ventures across few villages in Andhra Pradesh. It specifically focuses on the ancient methods of healing and traditional uses of medicinal plants. It also studies the age-old veena making tradition of this region.


Auroville; One for All, All for One

Auroville,  Villipuram District, Tamil Nadu

Intrigued by the promise of this utopian community, students sought to query the sustainability of the model of this town that provides inspiration for a new human consciousness.




Hampi, Bellary District, Karnataka

The project focuses on rediscovering the architectural wealth of this prosperous medieval city and the impact of thriving tourism industry on the communities inhabiting the surrounding areas at present. 



Various along river Narmada, Madhya Pradesh

This project is a journey along Narmada in parts of Madhya Pradesh. It focuses on understanding the cultural and religious importance of Narmada River as it flows through one of India's largest states and impacts the lives of people living close to its banks. It also aims to understand the imagery of river and to study the water-related myths and rituals.


Bali, Indonesia and Malaysia

International DIP – Bali, Indonesia and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Drawing from the significant multiculturalism in these regions, the objective of the International DIP was to use them as a window into our own culture and the role played by it to shape cultures abroad.


Folk Art Forms

Pinguli, Sindhudurg District, Maharashtra

The project aims to understand the evolution of these art forms as means of survival to only as a form of entertainment. It focuses on the factors behind the gradual decline of these arts and the efforts of the struggling artists to preserve their traditions in the wake of commercialization of the modern times.


Benaras 2011; Ganga on a Wobbling Pivot

Banaras, Varanasi District, Uttar Pradesh

The project aims to revisit the issue of Ganga pollution against the backdrop of people’s belief system, livelihoods and rituals and the consequent conflict of local cultural norms with river de-polluting strategies adopted by the government. It seeks to explore the possibilities of de-polluting the Ganga that can be realized from the life and livelihoods constructed around the river.


Grease 982- Journey Through Goa

Various in Goa

The project aims to understand the Goan identity with local people’s perspective. It attempts to explore various facets of Goan life to understand changes in lifestyles, individual perspectives and beliefs from the Portuguese period to present times.


The Gokarna Gamble

Gokarna, Uttara Kannada District, Karnataka

The project aims to study the subcultures of the town in their geographical spaces and to trace the evolution of these spatial subcultures in pre and post globalization era. The role of these spaces is metaphorically compared with multifaceted character of Shiva as Creator, Preserver and Destroyer to understand how the paradoxes of Shiva have interacted with the forces of globalization in shaping the cultural spaces of Gokarna.


Realms of the Unknown- Bhangarh

Bhangarh, Alwar District, Rajasthan

The focus of this project is to study the legendary significance of the town’s perplexing past that has drilled many notions and beliefs into the minds of its current inhabitants. Observing the resultant psychological, social and religious consequences was the aim of the project.


Bastar- The Lost Identity

Bastar District, Chattisgarh

The objective of this project was to study the remnants of what were once large tribes and their innate reticence that is said to have kept them from mingling excessively with the outside world. With respect to the cultural and social norms of the region, the project sought to study the art and culture that is the highly valued ancient property of its unique denizens.


Solitudes in Silk: The Patan Tale

Patan, Patan District, Gujarat

The objective of this project was to comprehend the treasured art of weaving and the gradual changes in its techniques. The project also aims to study the present-day conditions of Patola weavers and the influence of Patola motifs and designs on local architecture.


From Bonjour to Vanakkam: A Journey Across Cultures

Union Territory of Puducherry

The goal of this project was to observe the Franco-Tamil traditions of Puducherry and the vibrancy associated with them. To study the effects of Creolization on the mediums of town planning, lifestyle and cuisine, was also an objective of the project.


Legacy of the Nawabs of Lucknow

Lucknow, Lucknow District, Uttar Pradesh

This project sought to study the cultural eloquence and artistic accomplishments of this novel city. It also aimed to understand the function served by the city’s culture in shaping its current identity.


Kalaripayattu, ‘Standing the Test of Time’

Cochin, Ernakulam District, Kerala

The goal of this project was to study the origins and rituals of this martial art form and additionally understand the significance and benefits of the various practices involved. The project sought to take a multidimensional approach to analyze the contribution made by this mortal combat code to present Malayali culture.


Pushkar; A People’s Perspective

Pushkar, Ajmer District, Rajasthan

This project aimed to study the extravaganza of colour, crafts, not to forget cattle in the city of Pushkar and to understand the economic impacts of its popularity among tourists. To comprehend livelihoods that depended on the camel fair, was also an objective of the project.


Travelling with Tamasha

Various in rural Maharashtra

The objective of this project was to study the lifestyle of the artists involved in and the changes undergone by the art form over time. The project additionally sought to understand and analyze the various perspectives held towards this art form.


Along Bishnupur Lanes

Bishnupur, Bankura District, West Bengal

The aim of this project was to study the various representations of the essence of Bishnupur- these elements ranged from its terracotta temples and handicrafts to its Gharana of Music, its famous Baluchari sarees and the origins, history and recurring motifs in the same. To compare the past and present of these facets was also an objective of this project.


Architecture and Frescoes in Shekhawati Havelis

Shekhawati region, Rajasthan

The aim of this project was to study these Havelis that reflect the extravagant lifestyle and culture of a bygone era. To document the evolution of the subjects of hand-painted murals, was also an objective of this project.


Chavittu Nadakam: A Theatrical Kaleidoscope


The objective of this project was to study the thematic aspects in Chavittu Nadakam choreography and to trace, from its inception, the transitions of this art form. The project further aimed to research the various Christian legends and Biblical stories on which the art form is based.


Chikmagalur Coffee: Available, Stable and Sustainable

Chikmagalur District, Karnataka

This project aims to examine the concept of sustainable agriculture in Chikmagalur’s coffee industry by using the standards of the United Nations. Another objective was to also study the district’s traditional livelihoods and methods that impact the relationships between the different communities engaged in the vital practice of coffee production.


Kumbh Mela: A Holy Dip

Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh

The goal of this project was to trace the humble beginnings of the festival by focusing on the historical, mythological and sacred space aspects of the Kumbh Mela. To understand socio-religious celebration and review the exalted status of rivers was also an objective of the project.


The Parsee; Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds

Mumbai, Navsari, Udvada, Surat and Pune in Maharasthra

The aim of this project was to understand the features that give this community its uniqueness and novelty. To observe and analyze the challenges faced by the Parsees as a community was also an objective of this project.


Yakshagana, Dance of the Demi-Gods

Udupi, Honnavar and Shimoga in Karnataka

This project sought to study the evolution of the tradition of Yakshagana. It also aimed to research whether an art form so rooted in antiquity can succeed in maintaining its relevance in such a rapidly changing society.


Forest Temple; Sacred Groves of Kodagu, Karnataka

Kodagu (Coorg) District, Karnataka

Lying deep and protected in the dense forests of Kodagu district of Karnataka are sacred groves that are essentially areas that have been set aside owing to taboos and religious beliefs. The objective of this project was to study these sacred spots where all free human interaction is respected. This project additionally sought to understand the journey and evolution of these spaces and the communities and perspectives linked to them.


Discovering Cambodia; Journey Through the Land of Puppets and Apsaras

Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Cambodia

Having won a grant to study Indian cultures abroad, this group of young researchers sought to understand the extent to which Indian culture has permeated in this foreign, or rather not-so-foreign, land. This project aimed to compare and contrast the cultures of the two countries through the analysis of art forms such as Shadow Puppetry and ‘Apsara’ performances.


Maach- Malwa Ka Loknatya

Malwa region, Madhya Pradesh

An art form traditionally performed by men, Maach is a lyrical theatre form practiced in the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh. This project is a study into the ability of Maach to transcend its status as a mere form of entertainment. It also aims to understand its capacity to creatively weave together the elements of music, dance, drama and story-telling.


Bunt Community of Tulu Nadu

Mangalore, Dakshina Kannada District, Karnataka

A prominent presence in the district of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, the Bunt community has a rich culture that, in many ways, is unique to it.  The aim of this project was to study the evolution of the Bunt community and the extent of the influence of Bhuta Kola, a form of spirit worship, and its manifestations within the community.


Baiga: Tracing the Tattooing Tradition

Baiga-Chak belt, Madhya Pradesh

Hidden deep within the timeless tresses of the Baiga-Chak Belt in Madhya Pradesh, the Baiga seek an outlet for expression through their practice of Godna- a distinctive form of tattooing. This research was a study of this traditional tattooing process, the significance of its forms and traditions. It also sought to understand how the Baiga tribe has begun to carve a new identity as it adopts the methods and practices of the urban environment.


Women in and through Brindaban

Vrindavan, Mathura District, Uttar Pradesh

Often associated with Lord Krishna, Vrindavan in the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh is a revered place of pilgrimage. This project sought to understand the impact of this pious culture upon women and their notions of womanhood. It aimed, in other words, to gauge the extent to which the divine charm of Vrindavan can be linked to its concepts of gender. The project also studied the contribution to the town’s belief systems by Radha, Krishna and other deities.


Channapatna- The Land of Toy Making

Channapatna,  Ramanagara District, Karnataka

Recognized for its elaborate and age-old toy making industry, Channapatna is a town nestled in the Ramanagara district of Karnataka.  The objective of this project was to explore and understand the origin of this craft of toy making, the methods involved in it and the impact of external organizations on it. The project additionally aimed to study the technological changes undergone and the varied perceptions of the people involved in the industry.


Padayani - The Art of Veneration

Kadammanitta village, Pathanamthitta District, Kerala

Padayani is a ritualistic art form is an amalgamation of music, dance and drama, which is exhibited with the help of various masks or headgears known as ‘kolams’.  The aim of this project was to study the influence of the socio-economic status and gender of performers on these rituals that are essentially reflections of the beliefs of the communities involved. The project also sought to observe the thematic elements of Padayani and its natural and therapeutic effects.


From Father to Son: Oral Traditions of Western Rajasthan

Various in Western Rajasthan

The Oral Traditions of Rajasthan are in essence the verbal testimonials that bring invaluable aspects of the past to the present.  The focus of this project was to understand the complex patriarchal society that constitutes more than one dimension of origin, influence and evolution. It also aimed to document the elements of nature and patronage involved in the tradition.


Dastangoi: Tales of the Phoenix

New Delhi

Part of the heritage of the national capital, Dastangoi is the treasured ancient Persian art of Urdu storytelling that can be traced back to the 9th century.
The objective of the project was to attempt to unveil the mystery surrounding the history and transitions of the art form. The project laid special emphasis on the socio-cultural shift that led to the decline in the use of Urdu and the impacts of this phenomenon on Dastangoi as an art form.


Mud and Mirror: Exploring the Tradition of Lippan and Chittar Kaam

Ahmedabad, Bhuj and several villages in Kutch, Gujarat

Focusing on the Lippan and Chittar art form, the group sought to understand the patterns, processes and motifs associated with the art form paying special attention to the impact of commercialization on the same.


Rejuvenating Silambam: An Ancient Martial Art

Madurai District, Tamil Nadu

Practiced in Madurai in Tamil Nadu, Silambam is a martial art that is of immense historical and socio-cultural worth. Having evolved during the Colonial era, Silambam, with its complex techniques and weaponry, has come to represent struggle, recreation and celebration. The objective of this project was to gain insights into this martial art, its evolution and the perspectives associated with it.


Raghurajpur: The Land of Chitrakaras

Raghurajour, Puri District, Odisha

Nestled in the splendid state of Odisha, Raghurajpur is a village that embodies the spirit of art. Known for its elaborate Pattachitra paintings, Raghurajpur has been given the status of a heritage village. The aim of this project was to understand the factors that give Raghurajpur its esteemed status. Additionally, it focused on the socio-cultural aspects that make Pattachitra a treasured form of art.


Story of the Veena

Thanjavur District, Tamil Nadu

Said to symbolize ‘Beauty and Prosperity’ among ancient Indian classical instruments, the Veena has an antiquity that can be traced back to the Vedic era. Travelling to the temple town of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, this group aimed to gain an insight into the historical and mythological origins of this novel instrument. The project also aimed to follow the evolution of the Veena with special emphasis on the meticulous process of its formation.


Chhau Dance of Mayurbhanj: Visual Poetry

Mayurbhanj District, Odisha

Known for its powerful martial movements and the depiction of graceful femininity, Mayurbhanj Chhau is a highly energetic and colourful dance practiced in Odisha. Having visited the Mayurbhanj district in the state, this group studied this dance form, its roots and evolution, and also explored its current social and economic significance.


Narrating the Tale of Naqal

Chandigarh and other neighbouring locations, Punjab

Naqal is a form of theatre indigenous to the spirited state of Punjab. Being folk theatre, it serves as one of the oldest means of communication that seeks to bring about societal transformation. The aim of this project was to comprehend the social efficacy of and the multiplicity of themes associated with this genre.


God in a Handful of Dust: The Ayyappan Theeyattu

Palakkad, Ernakulam and Kozhikode in Kerala

The objective of this project is to understand the origins, changes, performance, techniques and themes of the Ayyappan Theeyattu through the analysis of the exclusivity, cultural significance, and rationale of the ritual as the Theeyadi Nambiars claim.


Ganjappa: The Playing Cards of Odisha

Mathura, Ganjam District, Odisha

Playing cards are and have been one of the best forms of recreation over the ages. Ganjappa is a card game prevalent in Odisha. Unique in their design and use, these cards have been strongly influenced by elements taken from Hindu mythology.
Through its study, this group sought to understand the Ganjappa tradition and its evolution.


Nizhal:The Shadows of Tholpavakoothu

Palakkad District, Kerala

Tholpavakoothu is a form of shadow puppetry from Kerala that is performed to appease the Goddess Bhadrakali. An art form with a distinct place among other ancient arts from Kerala, Tholapavakoothu is an amalgamation of traditions, rituals and beliefs. The objective of this project was to understand the evolution of this art form with special emphasis on the associated ideologies that reflect the lifestyle of the people engaged with it.


The War Craft of Angam - A Traditional Martial Art of Sri Lanka

Colombo, Sri Lanka

A complex martial art, Angam combines hand-to-hand combat and the use of weaponry with an underlying element of spiritual fruition. This project was based across the sea to Sri Lanka to study this war-craft of Angam. The focus of this project was to learn about the origins and evolution of this war-craft with special emphasis on the different ritualistic practices involved.


A Tradition of Transience: The Kalibelia Dance

Jaipur and Pushkar, Rajasthan

The project explores the origin of the Kalbelia tribe and their dance, and attempts to understand the evolution of the dance with the changing expectations of the audience.


Kutiyattam: Living Heritage

Thrissur and Cochin, Kerala

Kutiyattam is the oldest surviving theater art form in Kerala that uses the Sanskrit language in its performances. The project explores the transformations that the art form has undergone over the years.


Siddi Tribe

Jambur, Gujarat

African by origin, Indian by nationality and speaking the local language of Gujarati, the Siddis have lived in Gujarat for about 400 years. This project focuses on the Siddis of Jambur and explores the social, economic and cultural aspects that make the Siddi community what it is today.


Understanding and Exploring the Music of the Bauls of Bengal

Kolkata and Shantiniketan, West Bengal

The Bauls are a group of wandering minstrels indigenous to West Bengal. They are best known for their unique music and alternative lifestyle. The project views Baul music through an ethnomusicological perspective, documenting the evolution of Baul music from its conception to modern times.


Experience God in God's own country: The Sree Muthappan Theyyam at the
Parassinikadavu Temple

Parassinikadavu, Kerala

Theyyam is a theophanic art form, prevalent in the North Malabar region of Kerala. This project focuses on various aspects of the Muthappan Theyyam practiced in the village of Parassinikadavu with special emphasis on the performance, the performer, and the devotees.


The Ratha: A Pull of Faith

Udupi, Karnataka

A ratha is an intricately structured temple chariot that serves as a mobile beacon of faith for several devotees, especially across South India. This project explores the relationship between the ratha and its makers, focusing on multiple traditions and procedures of a ratha’s construction, impact of technological and socio-economic influences upon these processes, and ratha’s symbolism and its use in the custom of rathotsavams.


Sails of Change: Mapping the Mandvi Vaahan

Mandvi, Gujarat

This project explores the four centuries old boat building tradition of Mandvi, a port town in the Kutch district of Gujarat. With an average height of 40 feet, this mighty cargo vessel is classified as a dhow universally and called a vaahan locally. This project focuses on the intricacies of this industry with regard to its socio-economic and cultural impact on the communities of Mandvi.


Shani Shingnapur

Shani Shingnapur, Maharashtra

Shingnapur, a hamlet nestled in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra is a home to India’s largest Shani (Planet Saturn) temple. This study attempts to understand the deity and its role in Shingnapur, tracing its impact on the tradition, community behaviour and the resultant social dynamics.


A Stitch in Time: An Inquiry into Phulkari in Punjab

Amritsar, Punjab

Phulkari is an embroidered textile, practiced by womenfolk in Punjab. The project explores this art form with a focus on its significance to the stakeholders, its evolution and the impact of commercialization in present times. It also studies the initiative undertaken by the civil society and development sector organizations, to revive and sustain the traditional practices.


Echoes of Nizami Qawwali: The aura of Auliya


This project explores the Nizami Qawwali, a religious praxis that uses music as a vehicle on which to recite devotional poetry at the dargah (tomb) of Nizamuddin Auliya, the fourth of the four most prominent Chishti Sufi saints of India. This project focuses on the distinct nature of Nizami Qawwali and its contemporary adaptations to ascertain where the practice draws the line between prayer and entertainment and more importantly, where Nizami Qawwali stands in the 21st century.