The Turtle Interpretation Centre at Marakkanam is a project undertaken at the behest of the Department of Forest and Wildlife, Tamil Nadu. The centre has interpretation signage on plywood that combines both text and imagery concerning sea turtles found in India, especially the Olive Ridley Turtle which inhabits coastal waters of the East Coast of India.
Home to one of India’s largest and most important mangrove ecosystems, Pichavaram in the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu has long mesmerised visitors with its spectacular maze of narrow waterways and overhanging mangroves.
The art department at Pitchandikulam is delighted to have helped design and create an interpretation centre on the site, on commission from the Tamil Nadu Forest Department.
The project consisted of two parts:
Over a dozen artworks were made for the mangrove interpretation centre, including a beautiful sea turtle who now takes pride of place hanging from the ceiling, and a complex five foot painted sculpture of a rhizophora mangrove tree, complete with roots.
This involved showcasing the four common venomous snakes of peninsular India (Spectacled Cobra, Indian Krait, Russell’s Viper and Saw-Scaled Viper) and their likeness for the education of the general public. We created life sized sculptures of nine snakes for an outdoor public space, in addition to interpretative signage.
This project involved the creation of life sized models of various snakes and lizards.The challenge was to be as taxonomically accurate as possible as the models had to undergo scrutiny by top herpetologists and other wildlife biologists. In addition the models had to depict life styles of the animals that one would not observe unless one spent considerable time observing them in the wild. This was one of Pitchandikulam’s most satisfying projects as it passed muster in both the strict scientific as well as the art fields.
This is one of the oldest museums in the country. We were commissioned to refurbish the museum and give it a more aesthetically appealing look without compromising the existing collections in the museum. The work needed quite a bit of ingenuity and involved the creation of life-sized sculptures of large animals, interpretative signage, indoor landscaping, refurbishing of antique furniture and models, and the cleaning and remounting of the hundreds of animal trophies and skins contained in the collection.
The highlight of the exhibition space is a three dimensional diorama, approximately 25m x 3m, of a rocky forest landscape complete with sculptures of a tiger, a family of lion-tailed macaques, an Indian python swallowing a spotted deer, a king cobra, and a ficus tree amongst many other minor items. A stuffed gaur (Indian bison), presented by the Maharaja of Mysore, and a few other fully stuffed specimens were also used to give a realistic feel to the exhibition.
There’s a good article from the Hindu on the reopening of the museum here.
Eye catching paintings of local wildlife on Kadappa stone were erected at both tollgates between Chennai and Puducherry, along the East Coast Road (ECR).
Maintenance update: A few of the paintings have faded noticeably since they have no shade and have not been touched up since they were commissioned nine years ago.
Customers and fans of outdoor art please note: if artworks are left out in direct sunlight, the colours will fade, so repainting maintenance should ideally be undertaken every three years or so. Therefore, it is most economical not to place the art in direct sunlight without any kind of shade.
It was a pleasure to collaborate with ATREE on this project: the Art Department enhanced the landscape features of the butterfly garden with confluent paintings on large granite slabs and stone sculptures, and our Butterly Expert provided background information about the life cycle of Indian butterflies.
This was a joint UNDP and Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust (GoMBRT) undertaking. The concept was essentially that when one entered the building the atmosphere should be almost as if one was underwater. The highlight of the whole exercise was a three dimensional 18 ft x 9 ft model of a coral reef with hundreds of associated life forms.
Pitchandikulam Forest Consultants are the lead consultants in the ecological restoration of 58-acres of the Adyar Creek estuary in Chennai. The ecological restoration has created will result in an eco-park that is a showcase ecosystem of the Coromandel Coast with fresh water ponds, brackish areas, mangroves, mud flats, dunes, and islands. The information centre provides an educational focus to the park and is a place where children can come to watch the Creek’s birds, turtles, reptiles and other animals. One of the highlights of the eco-park is the presence of water bodies surrounded by typical vegetation found in a Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest.
The Adyar wetland reserve is a significant link for birds on their great annual migrations, particularly the wading birds who feed on the coastal mudflats. Historically, approximately 200 species of migratory birds visited the Adyar Creek region but many are now on the endangered International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. The restoration of this wetland will encourage many of these species to return.
The fascinating ecology of the estuary includes mangroves and many creatures from mud skippers and crabs, to dragon like monitor lizards. Restoring these mangroves and estuarine vegetation will function as an important fish breeding habitat, provide a natural barrier against cyclones and storms, and play a major role in the cleaning of the Adyar river.
The park educates visitors through a working model of an environmentally sustainable building demonstrating water collection, conservation and treatment, energy efficient alternatives such as solar, bio-gas and wind, waste management techniques as well as showing options for eco-friendly building materials. The use of non-conventional energy is demonstrated in a practical way for visitors, especially children to see how energy is produced by sunlight, wind and bio-mass. The bioresource centre illustrates the uses of plants and their relationship to human kind through an interesting and fun display.