Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum:
Location: Pune, Maharashtra
Displays: Vast Collection Of Paintings, Handicrafts, Armour-Suits, Musical Instruments And Many Other Objects Of Art
Significance: Contains The Collections Of Dedicated Lover Of Indian Art, The Late Dinkar Kelkar
Architecture: Rajasthani Style
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum in Pune houses an enormous number of over 20,000 collections of objects and artifacts collected from all over the world. Built in a Rajasthani-style, the museum has a vast collection of paintings, handicrafts, armour-suits, musical instruments and many other objects of art.
The galleries give the onlooker a clear depiction of the life and culture of the Marathas. The museum contains the collections of dedicated lover of Indian art, the late Dinkar Kelkar. He has spent almost 60 untiring years traveling and purchasing objects from the remotest villages and towns of India. Kelkar’s passion and sense of humor are reflected in every item of the collection, and his contribution to the study and preservation of art has already become a legend.
Galleries In The Museum
The museum is divided into 36 sections and confines its collections to the arts of everyday life: pots, lamps, containers, nutcrackers, pen stands and like – objects that one would find in the homes of the village landlord, the farmer, the merchant and shopkeeper. It also has a display of 17th century lamps and other articles belonging to Mughal and Maratha periods. A masterpiece of the museum is the ‘Mastani Mahal’ that was erected here in its original site.
The entrance of the ground floor gallery displays carved doors and windows along with their panels and frames. These are set in such a way that they give you a feeling of being just in front of the then existing house from where the particular doors have been collected. A huge section of the museum occupies the Vanita Kaksha – the women’s parlor giving an insight to the lives led by the women during that period.
The first floor has a collection of musical instruments of various kinds namely drums, flute and the string. The museum proposes to pour music into these instruments by making them enjoyable through cassette recording. There are samples of Indian textiles, puppets and other household objects too.
Part of the second floor displays a range of metalware – from locks, to ink pots, ritual bowls, ‘Hookah’ stands (hubble-bubbles), nutcrackers and lamps is quite remarkable. Lamps with sacred emblems like the peacock, the Goddess Lakshmi, elephants and birds, and hanging lamps that are suspended on heavy brass chains, and standing lamps used in the temple and the home are on display in the museum.
A Unique Lock Collection:
The collection of locks includes some humorous, rather playful locks in the form of dogs, horses and even a scorpion. These locks were used on doors and trunks, and had ingenious locking mechanisms and keys. There are also nutcrackers embellished with impossible figures of embracing couples, Goddesses, riders on horseback and many other designs – some quite bizarre, others quite elegant.
With the traditional customs of betel- nut chewing and Pan (betel-leaf) eating came the boxes and intricately designed containers for these leafy digestives. Perforated boxes (to keep the leaf fresh) gave the craftsmen scope for unlimited experimentation in form and embellishment, and a generous sample of these boxes is on view at this museum.
The Exquisite Chitrakathi Paintings:
There is also an interesting collection of the Chitrakathi painting of Maharashtra. These scroll paintings were used by the village storyteller, to the accompaniment of music and song. The pictures are bold and very graphic. Something of the leather puppet traditions of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are also reflected in these Chitrakathi paintings.
On the third floor there is room for holding exhibitions, which cannot be displayed in the permanent show. An exact reproduction of the aesthetically designed Mastani Mahal built by the Bajirao Peshwa during the 19th century for his mistress Mastani captivates the visitors.