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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Edition 27: Kelkar Museam and Warkaris



Pune, the Oxford of the East has lessons of history beyond textbooks for visitorsand residents. Located in the heart of the city, Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, immerses its visitors in a time travel. Established in 1960, the museum was started by Late D. G. Kelkar in loving memory of his son, Raja, who died an untimely death. His love for art and poetry, led him on a journey to collect antiques.

Today, the museum houses 21,000 artifacts collected from all over the country. Given the limitations of time, it isn’t possible to view and remember all of these. Thus, here’s a list of 10 items that are a must-see at the museum to make your trip an unforgettable one!

Standing Lamp

This is a humungous standing lamp. Odd 12 feet in height and with more than a 150 lights, its magnificence is truly captivating. The lamp is made out of brass and dates back to 17th century. It was brought to the museum from Trichur in Kerela, and used by Rajiv Gandhi to inaugurate the Festival of India.

Panchmukhi Maruti

Poised as a gallant warrior, the Panchamukhi Hanuman, carved in wood, gives you a warm welcome to the next section of the museum. He wears the face of a boar, a lion, horse and an eagle, other than his own. This piece of art belongs to the 18 century and has been brought to the museum from Tamil Nadu.

Lord Vishu Ceiling

As you walk up the stairs, an ancient ceiling enthralls the eyes. The spirals and human figures on the black background are entirely made out of wood dating back to 18 century. This ceiling depicts Lord Vishu and Nagkanyas, portraying the origin of the universe. So now you know where we came from?

Golden Gun

The Golden Gun bears the inscription, ‘Shri Ramban’ which means ‘sure shot’! This gun dates back to 17th century and was gifted by Sardar Purandare to the museum.

Made of gold and ivory, it is priceless artifact and thus a must see!

Lord Ram’s Statue

One of the most expensive artifact in the museum is the black statue of Lord Rama. Carved in the 12th century, this statue was found in two places. This carefully restored

statue sees Ram in an unusual poise. Poison Testing Lamp The artifact that tickles your intelligence is the Poison Testing Lamp. Made from zaher mohra rock found in Middle East, this lamp has a stone candle holder in the center. The color of the stone and the flame changes with proximity of poison.

Sun Lamp

At the first look of the lamp, you see a striking pose by Surya, depicting source of energy. At his feet is Arun, his charioteer, holding the reins of seven horses, representing

the seven days of the week. He is flanked by archers, standing for Uttarayan and Dakshinayan on his sides. At the bottom of the lamp were another 12 horses, signifying

the zodiac signs and months. Behind it is a wheel showing called as ‘Kaala Chakra’ and another perpendicular floral wheel, showing the 27 constellations. This 16th century Nepalese lamp, is a testimony to the ingenuity of human mind.

Dancing Meenakshi

A ten foot tall statue of Meenakxi, striking a dance pose is entirely carved in wood. This 200 year old statue, is replica of a statue in Tamilnadu.

Mastani Mahal

The last but not the least, is the Mastani Mahal. It is the recreation of the Mastani’s palace, which was built by Peshwa Bajirao I for Mastani, his concubine and a danseuse.

The room captures the romance, with original wooden pillars, warm colors and subdued lighting, just as Mastani captured Bajiro’s heart with her beauty! Ever corner of the museum transudes, dedication and commitment, not just of artisans, but also of the staff that has put together an excellent show! So…don’t miss it!




The annual pilgrimage of watkaris is a constant source of inspiration and devotion for the Puneites. Lakhs of Warkaris taken their pilgrimage from Dehu and Alandi to the temple town of Pandharpur each year, passing through our city. This has been a ritual for over three centuries and this year was no exception as well.

This year, the scene was different since the Palakhis (palnquin processions) of Sant Tukaram and Sant Dnyaneshwar came on two different days. Normally, these processions halt in city on same day and it is a belief among warkaris that both the great saints meet here. In Pune, both the palkhis of Sant Tukaram and Sant Dnyaneshwar usually come same day. They have a one day stay here and head towards Saswad from where they go to Pandharpur. Passing of these palkhhis through Dive Ghat (Dive Pass) is one of the most spectacular sights of wari. Many a people are mesmerized by the sight of this passing of palkhis.

This year, the Palakhi of Sant Tuakam came on July 5 while that of Sant Dnyaneshwar came on July 6. They had a stay for a day and both the processions left for andharpur.

The culmination of this pilgrimage is on Ashadi Ekadashi when lakhs of warkaris gather together for mili-seconds of visage of their favourite god, Vitthala. Incidentally, Jaitunbi, a revered saint and icon of Hindu-Muslim unity in the Warkari fraternity passed away on her way to Pandharpur.

She left for heavenly abode while reading the Dnyaneshwari, a sacred text which she worshipped for more than 50 years. This was her 62nd wari. She was 80 years


1 comment:

  1. Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum is indeed Pride of Pune City & its history!!!!! We must make it a point to take our guests from other states & countries to see this treasure!!
    Dr.Smita Athavale