When you tune in to nature in the city, you get drawn in to a whole new world that is constantly unfolding around you. On your way to work, you might find a train of Blue Tiger butterflies that are migrating from the Western Ghats to the Eastern Ghats. If you look out your window, you might see a Leaf-cutter Bee bringing back a leaf to line her nest with. As you wind down for the day, you might hear the chatter of fruit bats leaving to their feeding grounds.

The Living Museum is an illustrated book on urban biodiversity in cities. It imagines nature in the city as though it were a museum with live exhibits. The book is laid out as a tour led by a jumping spider, through different ‘halls’ of the museum, where you will be introduced to commonly found plants, birds, insects and mammals of Indian cities. It explores the life tucked away in and around our homes, in gardens, by our roads and even those that emerge at night! No matter where you look, the jumping spider will lead you to the teeming nature all around.

Peppered with interesting nuggets about the behaviour and ecology of urban biodiversity, The Living Museum hopes to nudge its readers to observe the goings-on of nature in the city a little closer, and treat themselves to the wonder that is so close at hand. And once you’ve learned about these creatures and critters, the creators take you a step further, telling you more about how you can go out into the world and discover nature yourself. The book ends with sections on documenting urban life, nature journaling and citizen science. It also introduces you to the wild animals that venture into our cities, to the ways that the urban world impacts nature, and to people who work closely with these species and spaces. Through these tales, vivid artwork and nuggets of information, the book aims to inspire its readers to tune into their surroundings keenly and partake of the drama that transpires around them every day.

The Creators:

Anisha Jayadevan discovered ‘The Living Museum’ as a kid and loves tuning in to its happenings. She hopes that conversations about nature in the city will soon accompany small talk about the weather. She is on a valiant mission to hoodwink her parents into letting their garden run a little wilder. She is currently pursuing a PhD on land-use change in grassland ecosystems in india.

Ishika Ramakrishna is a researcher, blogger, podcaster and dancer, interested in primates, people and all the stories they have to offer. Outside of her love for all-things-monkey, she is also passionate about science communication and nature education.

Manini Bansal is a photographer and a visual communication designer. She traces her passion for expressing things visually to her childhood. From a young age, she was inclined towards photography, nature, and beauty as it is found in the everyday. Currently she is working with Terregeneration and she previously worked as the Art Editor for Current Conservation and Dakshin Foundation.

Janhavi Rajan loves to learn about design and the natural world—especially plants. She works on communications initiatives at Nature Conservation Foundation.

Babakiki is a collaboration between animation designers Fahad Faizal and Sunaina Coelho. A long time ago, they studied at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and have collaborated on many  projects ever since. Fahad makes commercial animations at his studio Plankton Collective. Sunaina is the Creative Director at Kutuki, a preschool learning app.


The Living Museum can be purchased here or here.