A few months ago, a friend wrote to me saying he’d been told by the guard on duty at an old monument outside Bangalore that he wasn’t allowed to sketch there. That surprised me, ( i’ve never been stopped from sketching myself) but apparently it wasn’t an isolated incident. The controversy began when artists were not allowed to sit with sketchbooks near monuments at Mamallapuram. That led to a successful change.org campaign petitioning for permission to sketch at monuments. ( Thank you, Ganapathy Subramaniam)
So here’s the simple verdict: You CAN sketch at monuments, just keep it simple: a sketchbook and your supplies are totally fine, but an easel and a more elaborate setup may not be okay. ( Here is a link to an article that explains it in more detail)
If you know you’re going to sketch at an old monument, it’s best to print and carry around a copy of this document with you. ( Thank you Kishan Dev of the newly formed Usk group in Mumbai for sending me a copy of this letter) If someone were to tell you you can’t sketch, show them the letter.
Happy Sketching…There aren’t many places in the world as exciting to sketch in as India!