In this paper I deal with a recent effort, conducted jointly by corporate and voluntary bodies, to create a themed cultural environment in Chennai (formerly Madras), the capital city of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. This project, not yet completed, fuses craft center with architectural reconstruction, and is the work of upper-caste, globally connected elites. The site, Dakshina Chitra, envisions southern Indian culture and history in ways that are tied to consumerism and to elite perceptions of regional and national heritage. This effort departs from and poses a critique of the versions of culture, history, and identity that have been inscribed by the state in urban public space during the second half of the 20th century—the statues, monuments, and memorials that celebrate Tamil ethnicity as promulgated in the Dravidianist sociopolitical movement. This movement, which originated in the late 19th century, provided a platform for anticolonial and subaltern social movements. It continues in the hands of the political parties who have controlled, at different times, the government of Tamil Nadu since 1967. The competing discourses on heritage posed by these different projects are indicative of political, economic, and cultural transformations associated with liberalization that are now reconfiguring the relations between state and society in southern India. The constructions of locality and history that became visible during the anticolonial struggle of the first half of the 20th century are being challenged by alternative formulations as heritage becomes a marketable good and consumption becomes a vehicle of political participation. With this case I consider the ways that themed urban environments serve not only as indices of the changing political economy, but also as markers of changes in the cultural mediation of political subjectivity.