A historian, environmentalist and writer based in Chennai, Dr. Nanditha Krishna is a Professor and a Research Guide for the Ph. D. programme of the University of Madras.

Dr. Nanditha Krishna has a Ph. D. from the Department of Ancient Indian Culture, University of Bombay, in 1975 on the "Iconography of Vishnu Narayana". She was a Heras Scholar.

She is the President of the C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation and Founder-Director of its constituents:

  • C.P. Art Centre (1978)
  • C.P.R. Institute of Indological Research (1981)
  • The Grove School (1983)
  • Saraswathi Kendra Learning Centre for Children (1985)
  • Kanchi Heritage House & Shakunthala Jagannathan Museum of Folk Art (2001)
  • Rangammal Vidyalaya (2001)

For more information, please see

  • She is also the Director of C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre (a Centre of Excellence of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Govt. of India) (1989)


For more information, please see,

She is the President of

  • Conjeevaram Hindu Educational Society (SSKV Schools & Women’s College), Kanchipuram;
  • Blue Cross of Kanchipuram


Member, Governing Body of

  • Blue Cross of India, Chennai;


Member of

  • Advisory Council, Tata Centre of Excellence for Coastal and Marine ecosystem conservation, Tata Chemicals Limited, Mumbai.
  • Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), New Delhi
  • Editorial Board, Indian Historical Review, Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), New Delhi.



Dr. Nanditha Krishna is a Professor and a Research Guide for the Ph. D. programme of the University of Madras. She is the author of several books that based on her research into various topics connected with Indian culture and Hindu Iconography.

She is the Founder –Director of

  • C. P. RAMASWAMI AIYAR INSTITUTE OF INDOLOGICAL RESEARCH, established in 1981 in order to facilitate research and promote the study of Indian art, history and culture; and to organize seminars and conferences on various aspects of Indian Culture and history. The Institute has a reference library of over 15,000 books and manuscripts on Indian philosophy and religion, history, culture, art and law.
  • C.P. ART CENTRE, established in 1978, to promote Indian art and crafts; train traditional craftspersons, women and tribals in various craft forms; organize exhibitions and demonstration of crafts, painting and sculpture, art festivals, exhibitions and seminars on contemporary and folk art and topics of general interest; workshops on various arts and crafts; lecture-demonstrations and performance of classical and folk music and dance; and art workshops for teachers of the handicapped.
  • SHAKUNTHALA JAGANNATHAN MUSEUM OF FOLK ART situated in Brahma Mandiram, the 400 year-old house belonging to the maternal ancestors of Sir C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar. Reliable sources date it to the 16th - 17th century.  The existence of wall paintings, sculptures and household collections prompted the reuse of the house as a museum, named after Shakunthala Jagannathan, grand-daughter of Sir C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar and mother of Dr. Nanditha Krishna. 


Research Projects (completed)

  • Groves and Gods of Tamilnadu, 2019
  • Life Lessons from Mahavira, 2019
  • Life Lessons from Adi Shankara, 2018
  • Hinduism and Nature, 2017
  • Sacred Plants of India, 2014
  • Sacred Animals of India, 2010
  • Demons in Sanskrit Literature, 2007
  • Varahishwarar Temple, Damal, 2001
  • Iconography of Balaji-Venkateshwara, 2001
  • Folk Arts of Tamilnadu, 1995
  • Arts and Crafts of Tamilnadu, 1992
  • Origin and Iconography of Ganesha, 1992
  • Painted Manuscripts of the Sarasvati  Mahal   Library, Thanjavur, 1991
  • Shakti in Art and Religion, 1991
  • Folk Toys of South India, 1986
  • Art and Iconography of Vishnu-Narayana, Bombay, 1980

Research projects (guided)


  • Documentation and Survey of the Arts and Crafts of Nilgiri tribes – Kota, Kurumba, Irula and Paniya, 2002
  • Rock Paintings of Tamilnadu, 2002
  • Sacred Tanks of South India, 2002
  • Temple Tanks of Chennai, 2001
  • Sacred Trees of Tamilnadu, 1998
  • Roman Antiquities of Tamilnadu, 1992
  • Women of Tamilnadu – A Status Survey, 1990
  • Cultural Renaissance of the Vijayanagar Kingdom, 1989



  • Establishment of the Shakunthala Jagannathan Museum of Folk Art at Kanchipuram, 2001
  • Revival of Kurumba painting traditions, 2000
  • Restoration of Varahishwarar Temple, Damal, 2000
  • Documentation and conservation of the ecological heritage, since 1997
  • Revival of Traditional Drawing and Painting among the girls of Mamallapuram, 2003
  • Revival of Tamil Folk Art Forms in Schools of Tamilnadu, 1993 till present.
  • Revival of the art and craft traditions of the Kurumba and Kota tribes of the Nilgiris


In 1990, she was deputed to the Archaeological Survey of India’s restoration of Angkor Vat at Cambodia. She has extensively researched the Khmer temples, particularly Angkor Vat and Angkor Thom, and reported on the restoration process.


Symposia conducted

  • Urbanization in Indian History (2018)
  • The Iconography of Hindus, Buddhists and Jains (2016)
  • The Ramayana in Literature, Society and The Arts (2013)
  • 1000 Years of the Brihadishvara Temple, Thanjavur (2010)
  • The Environment and Indian History (2008)
  • New Trends in History (2002)
  • Iconography and Socio-Cultural Development (1998)
  • A Conceptual Approach to Indian History (1997)
  • Kartikeya in Art and Religion (1996)
  • The Heritage of Kanchi (1991)
  • Indian Influences on the Art and Culture of Indo-China (1991)
  • The Heritage of Thanjavur (1991)
  • Women of Tamilnadu (1990)
  • Shiva in Art and Religion (1990)
  • Indian Painting (1987)
  • Shakti in Art and Religion (1985)
  • The Alvars (1981)



In 1981, Dr. Nanditha Krishna started nature education programmes for teachers and students in the C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation. In1981, she became the Chairperson for Tamilnadu of WWF India, a position she held till 1996. She has been a member of the Senate of the University of Madras, Central Zoo Authority, National Wildlife Board, National Environmental Council, Govt. of India, Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education and the Committee for Environmental Orientation to School Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Some of her important environmental achievements include

  • Establishment of C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, a Centre of Excellence of the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Govt. of India, in 1989;
  • Conservation of Sacred Groves and Ecological Heritage – restoration of over 50 groves in Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka; and documentation of ecological traditions and heritage. An innovative project designed and executed successfully by her, over 50 degraded sacred groves in the states of Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have been successfully restored by her and a new grove created in Nenmeli village, Kanchipuram District, Tamilnadu.
  • Protection of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve through
    • the establishment of a gene pool of medicinal plants;
    • training Kota and Kurumba tribes to develop their traditional skills as a source of income;
    • persuading Ooty Municipality to bring in a law requiring vehicles entering Ootacamund to be checked for pollution emission
  • Revival of traditional rainwater harvesting and restoration of 8 water tanks (5 in the Nilgiris, 2 in Damal and Nenmeli villages, Kanchipuram district, and 1 in Kanakammachathiram village, Thiruvallur district) in Tamilnadu.
  • Designing of training programmes for teachers on Integrating Environmental Education in the School Curriculum; development of curricula for environmental studies for NCERT, AICTE, etc. and text books for the Matriculation Board, Central Board of Secondary Examination and University of Madras;
  • Programmes to involve rural women in environmental development and eco-friendly income generation activities such as Nursery raising, Vermicomposting, Establishment and maintenance of herbal gardens, Collection and maintenance of seed banks, Construction of smokeless chulhas and Income generation through eco-friendly products.
  • A replicable model of fuelwood conservation through the installation of modified smokeless stoves (chulhas) in 151 free midday meal schools of Tamilnadu. Simultaneously, the local village women were trained to construct the stove. Since it is totally smokeless and fuel-efficient, several homes in each of these villages have made or bought the stoves at their own expense.


Dr. Nanditha Krishna has implemented

  • DR. DOG – a pet therapy programme for children with Autism and Learning Disabilities;
  • KINDNESS KIDS, a programme to teach children about their food and the environment, especially vegetarianism;
  • The integration of animal welfare into the environmental education curriculum.

She is

  • Founder-President of BLUE CROSS OF KANCHIPURAM
  • Member of the Governing Body of the BLUE CROSS OF INDIA

Her article on “Slaughter for Science” in the Illustrated Weekly of India, 26 March 1978, resulted in a total ban on the export of Rhesus monkeys from India.

She has written extensively on issues concerning animals and is the author of Sacred Animals of India (Penguin Books India, New Delhi, 2010).




Dr. Nanditha Krishna is the Founder-Director of

  • THE GROVE SCHOOL established in 1980, Chennai. It is a school with a difference, which aims to provide quality education and creative thinking, affiliated to the Council for Indian School Certificate Examination.


  • SARASWATHI KENDRA LEARNING CENTRE FOR CHILDREN, established in 1985. The mission of the Saraswathi Kendra is to recognise, understand and establish innovative and comprehensive services geared to the special needs of children with learning problems and disabilities, autism, dyslexia.
  • RANGAMMAL VIDYALAYA NURSERY & PRIMARY SCHOOL established in 2004 in Kanchipuram.


She is also the President of THE CONJEEVARUM HINDU EDUCATION SOCIETY, which runs the S.S.K.V. SCHOOLS and WOMEN’S COLLEGE.

She also runs the Sir C.P. RAMASWAMI AIYAR MEMORIAL NURSEY & PRIMARY SCHOOL, a free English-medium school in Kumbakonam.



  • Life Lessons from the Buddha ‘SEE THINGS AS THEY ARE’, Aleph
  • Life Lessons from Swami Vivekananda ‘BELIEVE IN YOURSELF’, Aleph
  • Groves and Gods of Tamilnadu, Indian Council of Historical Research, 2019
  • Life Lessons from Mahavira, Aleph, 2019
  • The Book of Avatars and Divinities
  • ‘Mahabalipuram’ – The Ganga Comes to Tamil Nadu, Mapin, 2018
  • Life Lessons from Adi Shankara, Aleph, 2018
  • Hinduism and Nature, Penguin Books India, 2017
  • Deva Pratima, A Compendium of Essays on Indian Iconography, CPR Publications, 2016
  • Sacred Plants of India, Penguin Books India, New Delhi, 2014
  • Paintings of the Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram
  • Madras Then, Chennai Now (with Tishani Doshi & Pramod Kapoor), Roli Books, New Delhi, 2013
  • Sacred Animals of India, Penguin Books India, New Delhi, 2010
  • Book of Demons, Penguin Books India, New Delhi, 2008
  • Book of Vishnu, Penguin Books India, New Delhi, 2001
  • Balaji Venkateshwara - Lord of Tirumala Tirupati - An Introduction, Vakils, Feffer & Simons, Mumbai, 2000
  • Ganesha(jointly with her mother Shakunthala Jagannathan), Vakils, Feffer & Simons, Mumbai, 1992
  • Painted Manuscripts of the Sarasvati  Mahal   Library, Thanjavur Maharaja Serfoji's Sarasvati Mahal Library, Thanjavur, 1994
  • The Arts and Crafts of Tamilnadu, U.S.A., 1992
  • The Art and Iconography of Vishnu-Narayana, D.B. Taraporevala & Co.,Mumbai, 1980
  • Madras-Chennai, Its History and Environment, New Horizon Media, Chennai, 2009 (English and Tamil), 2009
  • Folk Toys of South India, CPR Publications, Chennai, 2006.
  • Varahishwarar Temple – Damal, CPR Publications, Chennai, 2001 (English and Tamil)
  • Folk Arts of Tamilnadu, Chennai, CPR Publications, 1994 (English & Tamil)


All her books have been reprinted several times.

She has edited

  • Religion and Ecology (2019)
  • Sacred Groves of India, A Compendium, (2015)
  • The Ecological Traditions of
    • West Bengal (2016)
    • Gujarat (2016)
    • Rajasthan (2014)
    • Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh (2013)
    • Punjab (2012)
    • Odisha (2011)
    • Goa (2010)
    • Maharashtra (2006)
    • Kerala (2006)
    • Andhra Pradesh (2005)
    • Karnataka (2005)
    • Tamilnadu (1997)
  • Kanchi(1992)
  • Shakti(1991)

Her books for children include

  • Hug a Tree (a play - New Horizon Media Pvt. Ltd., 2010),
  • Animals - It’s Their World TooA Book of Facts & Activities

(CPR Publications, first published in 1990)

  • The TreeA Book of Facts & Activities

(CPR Publications, first published in 1989)

Dr. Nanditha Krishna is the editor of

  • Eco News (A quarterly magazine of environmental news and articles) and
  • Indian Journal of Environmental Education (a peer-reviewed journal)

She is the publisher of

  • Journal of Indian History and Culture (a peer-reviewed journal)


She has published several research papers in refereed journals, besides popular articles in newspapers and magazines.

She has also been a columnist on culture and the environment in The Sunday Express.



  • Received the ‘Ambassador for Peace Award’ from the Universal Peace Foundation (UPF) - India, at the Women’s Indian Association Centenary Celebrations on the theme of ‘Human Empowerment and Peace’ in collaboration with the Department of Women Studies, University of Madras, held on September 1, 2017, at the University of Madras, Chennai.
  • Tamilnadu Brahmin Association felicitated Dr. Nanditha Krishna as Woman Achiever at their 3rd State Women’s Conference 2017 held on Sunday, July 30, 2017, at Ananda Marriage Hall, Chromepet, Chennai.
  • Dr. Nanditha Krishna, Honorary Director, C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, Chennai, received the International Social Activist Award for Environmental Education from His Excellency, Mr. Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory, Vice-President of Mauritius, at the 4th World Tamils Economic Conference Road Show, Launching of Website & Brochure, organized by Madras Development Society, Chennai, on April 13, 2017.
  • Received the "Rotary Madras Day Award" in recognition of her distinguished service in promoting the rich heritage of Chennai, at the meeting of the Rotary Club of Adyar, on August 16, 2016, at 6:45 p.m., at Madras Boat Club, Chennai.
  • Dr. Nanditha Krishna receiving an HONORARY DOCTORATE OF LITERATURE (honoris causa) at the Eighteenth Convocation of VIDYASAGAR UNIVERSITY, Midnapore, West Bengal, on March 3, 2016. L-R: Dr. Ranjan Chakrabarti, Vice Chancellor, His Excellency Sri. K.N. Tripathi, Chancellor & Governor of West Bengal, and Dr. Nanditha Krishna.
  • C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre received the 13th Annual Sir J.C. Bose Memorial Award – 2015 instituted by the Indian Science Monitor under her Directorship in 2016 at Kolkata.
  • 'Ilakkiya Semmal' from Zakir Hussain's Sri Paadham Academy of Dance, Chennai, for her contribution to English Literature on Sunday, March 22, 2015.
  • 'Nari Shakti Puraskar' from H.E. President of India in connection with International Women’s Day celebrations held at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, on March 8, 2015, for the promotion of Indian arts and crafts; for the conservation and restoration of sacred groves; for the revival of traditional rainwater harvesting and restoration of tanks; for establishing innovative and comprehensive services for children with learning problems and disabilities, namely autism, dyslexia, ADD & ADHD; and for providing free education to disabled children and children from BPL families.
  • Received the Sir J. C. Bose Memorial Award instituted by the Indian Science Monitor for her work in environmental education from Justice Venkatachelliah (former Chief Justice of India and Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission) and Justice Santosh Hegde (former Judge of the Supreme Court and the former Lokayuktha of Karnataka) on January 9, 2014, at Bangalore.
  • Received Lion Dr. K. V. Govinda Rao Memorial Wisdom Award for Lifetime Excellence and Title of “Sevaa Rathna” at the 40th Wisdom Award 2012 organized by Wisdom (Monthly Digest), Chennai, on December 13, 2012, at 5.30 p.m.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Loyola Forum for Historical Research (LFHR), Department of History, Loyola College, Chennai, 2012.
  • Acharya Hasti Centenary Karuna Ratna Award, Karuna International and Acharya Hasti Centenary Celebrations Committee, 2010.
  • The C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation received the Rani Lady Meyyammai Aachi 101st Birthday Commemoration Award by
    the Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar Memorial Trust, Chennai, under her Directorship in 2005.
  • Dr. M. S. Swaminathan Award for Environmental Protection by Rotary Club of Madras (East) and Earth Care Group, 2004.
  • Enabled Woman from Madras Management Association, 2003
  • C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre received the Indira Gandhi Paryvaran Puraskar, India’s highest environmental award,
    under her Directorship in 2000.
  • Millennium Woman Award of the Forum for Women Students, Loyola College, 2000
  • Seva Ratna (from the Centenarian Trust, Chennai), December 1999
  • Stree Ratna (from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chennai), March 1998
  • Outstanding Woman of Asia (from the University Women of Asia), January 1997
  • Fellow of the Institute of Social Science Research



Dr. Nanditha Krishna is the

    • wife of Dr. S. Chinny Krishna, Managing Director, Aspick Engineering P. Ltd.; Founder, Blue Cross of India;
    • mother of Prashanth Krishna and Rudra Krishna author of The Onus of Karma (Penguin, 2010);
    • daughter of late Mr. A.R. Jagannathan, Founder Managing-Director and Vice-Chairman, Tata Projects Ltd., and
      late Mrs. Shakunthala Jagannathan, Deputy Director-General of Tourism, Government of India, and author of Hinduism,
      Ganesha and India-Plan Your Holiday, both published by Vakil’s;
    • grand-daughter of late Mr. C.R. Pattabhi Raman, Advocate, Supreme Court and a member of the Indian National Congress from his early days; Minister of Law & Company Affairs, Govt. of India (1966-67); Deputy Minister for Information and Broadcasting (1964-66); Deputy Minister for Labour, Employment and Planning (1962-64); Chairman, Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (1957-62); and late Mrs. Saraswathi Pattabhi Raman, author of Gowri Kalyanam Vaibhogame (Tamil);
    • great grand-daughter of late Sir C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar, Vice-Chancellor of Annamalai and Banaras Hindu Universities, Dewan of Travancore (1936-1948), Member of the Legislative Assembly of Madras Presidency, builder of the Mettur and Pykara dams and Secretary of the Indian National Congress.