R. Nagaswamy Indian academic

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Ramachandran Nagaswamy
Ramachandran Nagaswamy.JPG
R. Nagaswamy at a lecture in 2015
Born (1930-08-10) 10 August 1930 (age 90)
Occupationart historian, archaeologist
Scientific career
InfluencesK. A. Nilakanta Sastri,
T. N. Ramachandran
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Ramachandran Nagaswamy (born 10 August 1930) is an Indian historian, archaeologist and epigraphist who is known for his work on temple inscriptions and art history of Tamil Nadu. He served as the founder-Director of the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department. He was also instrumental in starting the annual Chidambaram Natyanjali festival in 1980.

He is an authority in Chola Bronzes. He was awarded India's third highest civilian award the Padma Bhushan in 2018.[1]

Early life

Nagaswamy was born on 10 August 1930 to Sanskrit pundit Ramachandran Sastrigal.[2][3] He graduated in Sanskrit from the University of Madras and pursued a master's degree in Sanskrit.[2] Nagaswamy obtained his PhD in arts and archaeology from the University of Poona.[2] Nagaswamy underwent archaeological training under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and in 1959, joined the Government Museum, Chennai as curator for art and archaeology.[2]


Nagaswamy served as curator for art and archaeology in the Government Museum in Chennai from 1959 to 1963. In 1963, he was appointed assistant special officer for archaeology for Tamil Nadu state and from 1966 to 1988, he headed the newly formed Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department.

Nagaswamy made archaeology a very popular subject in Tamil Nadu, especially among children through publication of pocket book guides. He was also responsible for involving several thousand school and college students in cleaning and preserving near by historical places and monuments. He also popularized monuments by bringing out popular guides in the form of newspaper, priced at ten paise per copy.[4] He was responsible for protecting several historic monuments like the first-century Chera inscriptions at Pugalur, the palace site of the Imperial Cholas at Gangaikonda Cholapuram, the famous 17th-century Thirumalai Nayak palace at Madurai, the 17th-centtury Danish Fort at Tranquebar, and the birthplace of poet Subramania Bharati at Ettayapuram besides excavating the palace site of Virapandya Kattabomman at Panchalankurichi.


Nagaswamy was awarded the "Kalaimamani" award by the Government of Tamil Nadu for his pathbreaking work on Sekkilar's Periyapuranam. He appeared as an Expert Witness in the London High Court, in the London Nataraja case.[5]

Nagaswamy has been awarded the Padma Bhushan award in the year 2018.


  • R. Nagaswamy (1980). Art and culture of Tamil Nadu. Sundeep Prakashan.
  • Vidya Dehejia, Richard H. Davis, R. Nagaswamy, Karen Pechilis Prentiss (2002). The sensuous and the sacred: Chola bronzes from South India. American Federation of Arts. ISBN 978-0-295-98284-7.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  • R. Nagaswamy (2003). Facets of South Indian Art and Architecture. Aryan Books International. ISBN 978-81-7305-244-6.
  • R. Nagaswamy (10 October 2003). "Democracy of a high standard — ancient example". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 5 January 2004.
  • R. Nagaswamy (2006). Art and religion of the Bhairavas. Tamil Arts Academy.
  • R. Nagaswamy (2010). Monumental Legacy Series: Mahabalipuram. Oxford University Press India. ISBN 978-0-19-807127-3.
  • R.Nagaswamy (9 January 2018). Thirukkural An Abridgement Of Sastras. Giri Trading Agency. ISBN 9788179507872


  1. ^ "6 Padma awardees are pride and joy of Tamil Nadu". The Times of India. 26 January 2018. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Biodata of R. Nagaswamy". Tamil Arts Academy.
  3. ^ Kausalya Santhanam (24 February 1995). "The Achievers". The Hindu.
  4. ^ "Tamilarts Academy".
  5. ^ "The case of the peregrinating Nataraja". The Hindu. 3 April 2003. Archived from the original on 3 January 2004.


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