This is a sketch by Raja Ravi Varma of a Toddy Tapper poised to climb a palm tree. The band used to climb the tree is draped over his shoulder and the pot to collect the toddy is visible behind him. In the background are the palm trees from which neera is collected, which when fermented becomes toddy. Interesting to observe is the train in the background on which Raja Ravi Varma and his brother, C Raja Raja Varma extensively travelled during their tours across India.


  • Title: The Toddy Tapper
  • Creator: Raja Ravi Varma
  • Location: India
  • Physical Dimensions: 34 x 24 cms
  • Type: Sketch
  • Original Source: Collection of DAG- New Delhi, Mumbai, New York.
  • Rights: Curatorial rights: The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation, Bengaluru
  • Medium: Watercolour and Graphite on Paper
  • Creator's Lifetime: 1848-04-29/1906-10-02
  • Creator's Biography: Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) was a prolific Indian artist who is recognized for his resorting to the academic realistic style of painting. His portraits of English and Indian royalty and aristocracy were well received. His paintings on Hindu religious and mythological subjects and paintings from classical and literary sources were highly sought after even during his lifetime. He painted several copies of his works and this demand led to the suggestion to have his paintings printed in the form of oleographs. The Ravi Varma Fine Art Lithographic Press was established in Bombay (now Mumbai) and commenced operations in 1894. Many of Ravi Varma's paintings were printed as chromolithographs at this Press. These chromolithographs would have a tremendous impact on religion, society and aesthetics. They went on to democratize art leading to immortalize Ravi Varma in the minds of the people of the Indian subcontinent.

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