History. A subject loaded with dynasties, battles, gigantic monuments, and cultures. While we get busy on the battlefields and maps, there is one corner of history, we seem to overlook, we take it for granted. And that is the life of a common man during that period. While Kings get busy killing each other, common people keep living on their day to day lives. Carrying the traditions, generations to generations, from the past to the future. Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, located in the heart of the Pune city takes you to such a journey, through the medium of our day to day ordinary, but yet, not so mundane things. The museum is loaded with tiniest objects, from hairpins to gigantic yali sculptures, from wooden keys to their spacious sturdy wooden doors. Each thing you find here is wrapped in a thick cloak of history and not to mention, created with brilliant elegance and artistry. From ivory Combs to foot-operated piano, everything you will see here, have seen at least a hundred years, were passed on from generation to generation to reach here.
Your idea of us being the most developed generation yet shatters here. At least when it comes to the arts. Our generation has constrained arts to the museums, to its curators, critiques, in art schools and in the Halls of rich and famous. But, just a hundred years ago, it wasn’t the case. Everyday things like a spoon, or rice plate, or lamp or, just a chair, everything was created with respect, love, and taste for the art.
The industrial revolution has made things easier, available, durable and affordable, but, without a taste, monotonous, gross and boring.
Many things you encounter here, are swallowed by the cruel time in the name of practicality and modernism. You will find many things here unknown, and yet, reusable, even in the modern age. Let’s take an example of Vajri. Vajri is a metal loofa, but not made in a factory in China, with cheap plastic materials. Another example will be Yali- Yali is a combination of fear full animals, usually, found on ancient South Indian temples. These guys will be standing over Kirti Mikhas, standing on demon skulls, crushing them. Just waiting for some white man to see it, study it, tweak it a little bit, take Patent for it, and resell it to Indians as the latest fad in air-conditioned shopping malls of metro cities. Each object you will encounter here, is not just a piece of art, but mostly, things of day to day life, created with artistic vision.
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum Information:
Kelkar Museum is one of the best Museums in Pune. Museum was founded by Dr. D. G. Kelkar (1896-1990). He started collecting artifacts since 1920, exploring across all over India. From the glorious palaces of Maharaja to the humble huts of tribal people in the jungle, he explored India for 60 years and collected more than 22000 priceless artifacts. His son was sick and bedridden, and when Dr. Kelkar went out with money to buy the medicines, he came back with some ancient artifacts he found in the flee market. Due to the untimely medication, eventually, his son lost his life. It would be an injustice to comment that, the man was passionate, as he was mad about the heritage and artifacts, collecting which drove him and his family towards complete ruins. But the brave family recovered from the loss of their son and kept on building their dream. Later, in 1981, Kaka Kelkar was awarded Padma Shree for his contribution to Indian heritage, history, conservation, and arts…
The museum, which is one of the best tourist attractions in Pune, is spread on three floors. But due to lack of space, 85% of the artifacts cannot be displayed here, remains in shadows, unsung and unstudied. But, whatever they display, is enough to blow your modern minds.
How to reach Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum: Museum is about 5 km away from Pune Railway Station. You can take an auto, which will take you to Bajirao road where it is located. While your auto will make its way from narrow gullies of Pune, you will see Shaniwar Wada and Lal Mahal as well, do not forget to add them into your bucket list as well.
Kelkar Museum Address:
Nebula, No. 1377/78, Kamal Kunj, Bajirao Rd, Natu Baag, Shukrawar Peth, Pune, Maharashtra 411002
Phone: 020 2448 2101