Landmarks in Pune I: Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum

Pune has long been known as the epicentre of Maratha culture and a city with a rich historical past, with different places in Pune today preserving traditions while simultaneously embracing modernity. One such cultural landmark within Pune that showcases history from across India is the Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum. Owing its origins to the personal collection of the late Dr DG Kelkar, the museum is a treasure house of over 20,000 artefacts collected by him from across different corners of the country.


The mind boggling collection is divided into dozens of sections that range from utility objects of everyday life such as writing instruments and kitchen utensils to objects belonging to fine arts like painting and sculpture. There is also a collection of entire doors, archways and windows from across India. Be sure to spot the door from Rajasthan that depicts the raas-leela theme on its panel as well as a beautifully decorated ancient temple door from Bhubaneshwar. One entire gallery is dedicated to musical instruments of various kinds including those that need to be beaten, blown or strung to produce musical notes. The intermingling of art and music is evident in the many animal and bird motifs that dominate the design of the instruments – there is a sitar in the shape of a peacock, a tortoise-shaped veena and even a tanpura that resembles a cobra!


The museum also excels in showcasing a collection of everyday objects that would have been mundane had it not been for their artistic value. Consider a chess-set or a pen-box made in ivory or an elaborately carved set of nut crackers and betel nut holders! If these were not surprising enough, then there are also foot-scrubbers with geometrical patterns, sindoor-boxes with animal motifs, combs of sandalwood and a vegetable cutter from Bengal shaped like a hopping animal. Explore the museum further to discover more hidden treasures: hundreds of hookah pipes, paper-mache toys, dozens of arms including shields and swords along with hanging lamps, colourful textiles and ink-holders in wood, copper, glass and even brass and ivory!


Despite the many unique pieces and one-off items in the museum that would be difficult to find elsewhere, the pièce de résistance for most is the ‘Mastani Mahal’. Originally a part of the palace built by Peshwa Bajirao I in 1734 at Kothrud near Pune, the remains of the structure were dismantled by Dr Kelkar and reassembled in the museum. The deep red tones of the space, exquisitely carved woodwork, delicate chandeliers, ornate ceiling and shimmering mirrors help to recreate the grandeur of the days gone by.


Fact File:


Getting there: Located along Bund Garden Road in the midst of the city, The Central Park Hotel is a convenient option for your stay in Pune. The Raja Kelkar Museum is just about 5 km away in the Shukravar Peth area, off Bajirao Road. From The Central Park Hotel it can conveniently be reached by car or public transport.


Timings: 10.00am to 06.00pm with last entry at 05.30pm


Entrance Tickets: Rs 50 for Indians; Rs 200 for foreigners.




Image Credit : Property Direction

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