The Foundation

kilimanoor palace

About Us

Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation is a not-for-profit institution that works to preserve and promote the artistic legacy of one of India’s greatest artists. Started by his great, great granddaughter Bharani Thirunal Rukmini Bayi Tampuran in 2015, the Foundation’s activities are ably guided and managed by an expert panel of external and internal advisors, in the field of art, history, conservation and industry.

The Foundation is the only institution in the world that works in the space of research, documentation, authentication and education with regard to Ravi Varma and his art works. The Foundation works with public and private museums, collectors and any collections that house or own works by this incredible artist.

Significance of the logo

The name Varma is derived from the original Sanskrit word “Varman” which means “armour” or “protection” or “shield”. The name Varma came to be used to refer to a Chief or Protector of an exclusive clan. The members of this clan were the Kshatriyas. The ancient source from where the people who belonged to this clan is believed to have originated somewhere in Central Asia. A King from Southern India, notably present day Kerala, by the name of Varma also finds mention in the Mahabharata war.

Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, with its new logo, embraces Varma or the Shield in an appropriate and distinct manner. The intent behind the Foundation’s logo is in keeping with our endeavour to protect his artistic legacy and the creative direction that Ravi Varma showed during his lifetime.

The presence of the Trident in our logo is significant in that it is an invaluable accessory to the protective armour or shield.

While we have embraced a new logo which is bright, bold and beautiful, our principles at the Foundation remain unchanged and firmly entrenched in Ravi Varma’s ideals. Our endeavour is to preserve and promote the rich legacy of one of India’s greatest artists.

- Rukmini Varma

Chairperson, Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation

Our Objectives

Briefly, these are to:

1. Increase awareness of his work through lecture series, exhibitions, short films and books

2. Promote his legacy and document his influences on jewellery, textiles and on other artists, through exhibits and talks

3. Provide valid authentication for his original works created in oil

Who we are

Raja Ravi Heritage Foundation has been founded by a board of trustees and is governed by a diverse group of art, history and industry experts.

Rukmini Varma

Bharani Thirunal Rukmini Bayi Thampuran


Princess Bharani Thirunal Rukmini Bayi Thampuran is the great-great granddaughter of the master painter Raja Ravi Varma and custodian of his artistic legacy through Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation.

Dr. Choodamani Nandagopal

Dr. Choodamani Nandagopal

Hon. Inception - Independent Director (HIID)

Associated with the Foundation since 2015, a reputed art historian who has been awarded four international and two national research Fellowships including being the first scholar to receive the UK Visiting Nehru Fellowship at Victoria & Albert Museum London, UNESCO Silk Fellowship at Paris, UNSW Senior International Fellowship at Sydney and Exeter Visiting Professor Research Fellowship, UK.

Erwin Neumayer

Erwin Neumayer

Archaeologist, Ethnologist & Lead Researcher

Author of Raja Ravi Varma: Portrait of an Artist, The Diary of C. Raja Raja Varma, he is an expert on the artist’s life owing to the extensive and well-documented research for the book. He has also written on pre-historic art of India and together with Christine Schelberger, is the author of Popular Indian Art: Raja Ravi Varma and the Printed Gods of India. He lives in Vienna.

Rupika Chawla

Rupika Chawla

Lead Authenticator, External Restorer & Conservator

Based in New Delhi, she has restored several Ravi Varma paintings and also imparts training in conservation. Together with A. Ramachandran, she organised the seminal exhibition on Raja Ravi Varma in 1993 at the National Museum in Delhi. She has written extensively on contemporary Indian art and is the author of several books including the popular Raja Ravi Varma: Painter of Colonial India.

Manu S. Pillai

Manu S. Pillai

Lead Researcher & Historian

Winner of the 2017 Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar, he is also the author of False Allies: India’s Maharajahs In The Age of Ravi Varma. His essays and writings on history have appeared in several leading Indian and international publications.

Shesh Kulkarni

Shesh Kulkarni

Noatum Logistics, Managing Director

Mentor - leadership and planning.

John Delano

John Delano

Coach - Strategy for Emerging Institutions

Jignesh Bhate

Jignesh Bhate

Founder & CEO - Molecular Connections Pvt Ltd

Mentor - leadership and planning.

Jay Varma

Jay Varma

Founder Trustee

Artist specialising in portraits and a fifth-generation descendant of Raja Ravi Varma, he continues the rich tradition forward.

Rajesh Nagjee

Rajesh Nagjee

External Coach, Mentor

He is widely known for his ‘Next Level’ transformational programs for various institutions.

Gitanjali Maini

Gitanjali Maini

Founder - Managing Trustee & CEO

Also, the founder of Gallery G and Sandeep & Gitanjali Maini Foundation. SGMF and Gallery G are the Principal Patrons of RRVHF.


Archana Shenoy

Director Curatorial Practices


Ravi Chakravarthy

Director Creative Practices


T S Prasad

Director Legal & Operational Practices

About Raja Ravi Varma

The life and works of one of India's most prolific artists.

Raja Ravi Varma was a painter par excellence whose works not only put India on the map but also placed him on the pedestal with other great artists. Born 29 April, 1848 at Kilimanoor in the erstwhile State of Travancore, Ravi Varma’s paintings of the Royals, illustrious personalities and contemporary figures were widely sought-after and greatly admired.

An eye for detail, splendid use of colours and rich texture gave his paintings a classy, exquisite look, the reason why his works are priceless even to this day.

His realistic portrayals and interpretations of religious and mythological figures that adorn the households today, captivated and fascinated the country as well as an international audience.

Ravi Varma’s works transcended painting; he was also a poet, scholar and a visionary far beyond his times. His work also helped focus attention on his talented peers and paved the way for a succession of artistes.

Ravi Varma’s intention was to take art to the common man and not to limit it just to a privileged few. By establishing a press to make reproductions of his works, Ravi Varma ensured a strong foundation of admiration and respect from all.

Passing away on 2nd October 1906 at the age of 58, Ravi Varma’s legacy continues to live and thrive through his works and the Foundation.

His Influence

Over the years many of us have forgotten how Raja Ravi Varma has influenced our lives in subtle, yet defining ways. His visual images of gods and goddesses which attained celestial reverence has impacted almost all walks of life. These can be related to his influence on Indian comic books, temple architecture, jewellery, textiles and ceramics to name a few.


Raja Ravi Varma's works are catalogued here as Paintings (Oils), Portraits (Oils) and Works from the Raja Ravi Varma Press and others across India. His vision helped forge a new identity and stature for Indian art by fusing Indian tradition and classical European technique. The list is exhaustive and hence we showcase a few of his significant works.

Works from the Ravi Varma Press and others
Yashoda Krishna
The Coquette
Hanuman's Discourse
Reclining Nair Lady
Radha and Krishna
Rani of Kurupam
Ahalya Indravalokan
Maharashtrian Lady
Ikkavu Tampuran
Raja Raja Varma
Pradhan Rai Panna Lal Mehta
Bombay Singer
Dhruva Narayan
Matriarch of Haripad Aristocracy
Rani Bharani Nal Mahaprabha Amma Tampuran
Kerala Varma Valiya Koil Tampuran
Lady with a Mirror
The Reverie
Krishna Phugadi
Seth Lakshmandas
Kerala Varma Valiya Koil Tampuran
H H Janaki Subbamma Bayi Sahib, Rani of Pudukkottai
Ram, Lakshman & Sita
Maharani Lakshmi Bayi
Ram Pattabishekam
Shesha Sayi
Mohini (Temptress)
Lady playing the Veena
Shri Sheshanarayana
Shri Shiva Panchayatan
Sri Krishna Mathura Gaman
Ram Mandal
Yashoda and Krishna
Shakuntala’s Impending Calamity
Vanvasi Ram

Want to see more?

To view the entire collection, exhibits and stories.


Ram Sagar darp haran - A S Desai

A brief calendar of events & exhibitions

Since inception in 2015, the Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation has successfully conducted and executed several exhibitions, talks, panel discussions and even made a short film on Raja Ravi Varma's birth place, in its effort to preserve his legacy - both artistic and otherwise.

Some of our most popular events have been:

  • Foundation’s Season Five - The fifth year of the Foundation will go down as one of the most memorable. Having earmarked five speakers for what has been our Season Five, the Foundation enlisted the services of five speakers, diverse, yet distinct in their field, to talk about Ravi Varma and his art.

    The RRVHF brought on board noted Oxford-based Prof. Partha Mitter, art expert and Yale University lecturer Patrick Connors, noted historian and conservator Rupika Chawla. While the three of them are distinguished in their respective fields, the Foundation, in keeping with the diverse tune, roped in Dinesh Vazirani, CEO and Co-Founder of SaffronArt, one of the top international auction houses. Vazirani’s interactive session was primarily to give his insight on the Art of Investment and to decode the myths surrounding auction houses and its processes.

    As the finale to Season Five, the Foundation organized a talk by Deepanjana Pal, journalist and author of The Painter: A life of Raja Ravi Varma. Her perspective on the master artist and his works are different, yet relevant and it gelled well with our theme of bringing in five varied speakers to disseminate their knowledge on Ravi Varma and his art.

    All the talks have been uploaded on YouTube and those desirous of watching the talk again may kindly click on the YouTube icon or here and watch the desired event in full.

  • Ravi Varma & His Contemporaries - Historian and conservation specialist Rupika Chawla was in conversation with author Manu S Pillai on the influence of the great master on a generation of contemporary artists like Sekhara Warrier, Mukundan Tampi, Neelakanta Pillai and others. The Foundational also worked with a group of private collectors displaying 11 original oil paintings for the day at the Kerala Museum, Kochi.
  • Raja Ravi Varma: His Mythological Perspectives - Devadutt Pattanaik kept the audience engrossed, dwelling on the huge role that Ravi Varma played in bringing the gods and goddesses and mythological characters closer to the common man during his lifetime, by way of his art. Pattanaik explained the mythological essence in some of Ravi Varma’s works like Dhruva Narayan, Ambika, Shankar to name a few.

The chronological detailed listing of the events can be found in the link below:

Foundation Events

These events, all planned and curated by the Foundation, shed light on the artist's impact on mythology, music, jewellery and textiles among others.


The Foundation is grateful to the media for constantly supporting us in all our endeavours. Event specific press coverage are listed in their respective section under foundation events. Highlighted here are overall news related to the Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation.

Light over shadows

Indian Express

On his 175th birth anniversary, remembering the life and legacy of Raja Ravi Varma

On his 175th birth anniversary, remembering the life and legacy of Raja Ravi Varma Considered the father of modern Indian art, Varma was arguably the first to successfully combine Indian iconography and portraiture with Western realism and techniques. He was one of 20th century India’s earliest cultural ambassadors. [...]

A Legacy continues

Bangalore Mirror

On the 172nd birthday of Ra ja Ravi Varma, The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation based in the city releases a book by Manu Pillai and a film on the life and work of the artist

On the 172nd birthday of Raja Ravi Varma, The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation based in the city releases a book by Manu Pillai and a film on the life and work of the artist. While the world selfisolates and tries to make sense of the Covid-19 pandemic, small windows of hope open now and then to assure us that all will be well. Incidentally and particularly relevant to today’s pandemic, is the story that legendary artist Raja Ravi Varma had to sell his Ghatkopar press in 1901 in Mumbai, after the plague devastated the business. [...]

A Rich Embellishment

Deccan Herald

Olaf Van Cleef

Heavenly Bodies’, an exclusive show of 4 of Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings, was recently held by Gallery G in association with The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation. [...]

Patrons & Friends

Principal Patron

Our Patrons

Friends of the Foundation
(Alphabetically listed with last names first)

  • Abhay, Sangeeta
  • Akluwalia, Inku
  • Akshay
  • Anchan, Isaac
  • Bajaj, Archana
  • Baldota, Lavina
  • Bharani, S.
  • Bhatia, Gaurav
  • Chakravarthy, Ravi
  • Chandok, Simran
  • Chandra, Padmini
  • Chandrashekar, Anju & Rajeev
  • Chandrashekar, Indira
  • Choudhary, Roy
  • Dasgupta
  • Dhruv, Purvi
  • Dinar
  • Duma, Anita
  • Genomal, Madhuri
  • Gupta, Manjul
  • Gupta, Mohit
  • Gupta, Reena & Gaurav
  • Gupta, Vivek & Sabina
  • GV, Gireesh
  • Hegde, Ganapati
  • Hemanth
  • Herinjal, Aditi
  • Heritage Walk Trivandrum
  • Jaisimha, Nandith
  • Jayadev, Sujata
  • Jaydeva, Sujatha Bandi
  • Kanchana
  • Kapoor, Anju & Kamy
  • Kashyap, Vir
  • Khaitan, Asha & Sushil
  • Khanna, Minna Dhir
  • Khoda, Ritu
  • Komu, Riyas
  • Koshy, Sneha
  • Krishnamurthy, Lakshmi
  • KT, Sangeeta
  • Lakshmi
  • Lal, Anup
  • Maheshwari, Manjusha
  • Maini, Kimberly & Chetan
  • Maini, Muskaan
  • Maini, Vikrant
  • Maney, Shakuntala
  • Mankhani, Sunita
  • Mehta, Ashok
  • Menon, Ammu
  • Menon, Chandrika
  • Menon, Jayshree
  • Menon, Parvathi
  • Mohan, J Rajaram
  • Mridula
  • Mukherjee, Ruam
  • Nadig, Kumkum
  • Nagarajan
  • Omer Bin Jung, Anjum & Nawabzada
  • Pai, Harish
  • Pam
  • Parmeshwar, Anita & Viju
  • Pillai, Manu
  • Prabhu, Prithvi
  • Prasad, TS
  • Prateeti
  • Punja, Prathithi
  • Punja, Vrinda
  • Puri, Mita
  • Radhika
  • Raghavendra
  • Raghu
  • Raja, M.
  • Rajagopal, Arun
  • Rajeev, Sharath Sunder
  • Rajendran, Swathy & Rohith
  • Ram
  • Raman, S. Subba
  • Rana, Jerry
  • Ravindranath
  • Rekhi, Zarien & Vijay
  • Sachdev, Geetanjali & Yogi
  • Saiprasad, Deepa
  • Dr. Shakuntala, N.
  • Shah, Gaurang
  • Shah, Seema
  • Shailaja
  • Shankar
  • Shankar, Kavitha
  • Sharmila
  • Shenoy, Archana
  • Shenoy, Vijaynath
  • Shetty, Mulki
  • Shirsat, Poornima
  • Shruti
  • Singh, Jija Hari
  • Sonny
  • Sood, Aarti
  • Sood, Kriti & Anish
  • Sree, Shananda
  • Srinivasan, Rita
  • Sripad
  • Studio Trika
  • Sukuma
  • Sunanda
  • Suparna
  • Supriya
  • Susan, Shilu
  • Sushma, Anuka
  • Swami, Nirmala
  • Urs, Vikas
  • Vaidyanath, K
  • Vaishnavi
  • Van Cleef, Olaf
  • Dr. Varma
  • Varma, Ambika
  • Varma, Balan & Vidya
  • Varma, Devika
  • Varma, Lakshmi & Raghu
  • Varma, Parvathi & Ravi
  • Varma, Sandhya
  • Varma, Shobana & Sreekumar
  • Varma, Uma
  • Vasanthi
  • Verma, Lalit
  • Vijendra
  • Vishwanath, P. K.
  • Vishwanath, Usha
  • Wali, Manju N.

Maharaja of Mysore - Ravi Varma

Be a Patron

We welcome your partnership with us in this exciting mission to preserve and uphold the artistic legacy of Raja Ravi Varma. We offer a tiered sponsorship structure, in keeping with Raja Ravi Varma’s inclusive spirit, designed so that you can participate according to your own cultural objectives and budget. All contributions are exempted under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act 1961.

Sponsorship Categories

These are:

  • Friends of the Foundation.
  • Patrons:
    • Silver
    • Gold
    • Platinum
  • Event Sponsor.

We will ensure effective exposure for your branding collaterals.

Select Synergies

We welcome your contributions and referrals of other artworks, other mediums of expression in line with our mission. We are in discussion with select global brands in this regard and seek an association and opportunity with any potential synergies.

Given his stature, it can be expected that The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation will generate much attention and participation. With your support, we will establish the Foundation as one of India’s most dynamic cultural entities that will promote, mentor and support allied creative endeavours so that Raja Ravi Varma’s heritage will flourish.

Would you like to be a Patron?

Please contact us for more information.
We look forward to hearing from you.

Get in touch


Gitanjali Maini, Managing Trustee & CEO

General Enquiry

Authentication, Restoration and Documentation


+91 80 2224 0102