The nationwide lockdown being imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic has been keeping a large number of people indoors, but as they say humans have a never-ending spirit and their innovative ideas are mightier than the problem, so, keeping in view the social distancing norm, many institutions have turned to virtual space across the country and Raja Dinkar Kelkar museum is one of them.
Located in the Pune city of Maharashtra, the museum recently offered a 3D virtual tour to the art lovers across the globe.
Speaking to IANS, Sudhanva Hari Ranade, Director of the museum said, "Since the lockdown was imposed, the museum was completely closed for the visitors. We had expected the third phase of lockdown to end on May 17. Therefore we had planned to launch formally the 3D virtual tour of the museum on the occasion of the International Museum day on May 18, but when we learnt that the government was to extend the lockdown and museums to remain shut, we decided to offer the 3D Virtual Tour to the people at large by using the Social Media platforms such as Whatsapp and Facebook etc."
Ranade told IANS that he was surprised by the overwhelming response of the people.
"The response received from the audiences and general public was incredible as on May 15, at least 2,44,800 unique visitors took the 3D virtual tour for 5,10,800 times worldwide. This is perhaps the biggest achievement of any of the museums in India till now."He further added that the museum has been shut completely since March 16 and having no income at all through the sale of tickets.
"It was essential to at least reach the public through digital medium in order to let the people know about the Museum virtually. I am also expecting more people to reach the Museum once the lockdown is lifted and life gets back to normalcy. The introduction of the Museum virtually may lead to increase in the footfall, resulting in an increased revenue post pandemic," said Ranada.
The virtual tour has been conceptualised by Ranade, grandson of the founder of the Museum Late Dr. D. G. Kelkar Aand is sponsored by an ophthalmologist Dr Shreekant Kelkar, nephew of the founder. A team of expert photographers Amit Patwardhan, Anirudhha Karmarkar and Mangesh Thombare under the guidance of the Museum's team developed the Tour.
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, is a rare anthology of Indian artifacts that echo myriad tales of a nostalgic legacy within the majestic archways and corridors. It is the one-man collection by D.G. Kelkar (1896 -1990). He dedicated his collection to the memory of his only son `Raja' who died an untimely death.
The museum collection of 23,000 priceless artifacts recalls the historic Indian culture and traditions. Creations in stone, wood, metal, ivory, fabric and clay that endure as the full realization of human craftsmanship.The museum has variety of every day artifacts, which includes Lamps, Palanquins, carved woodwork, combs, bowls, stones, hookahs, locks, musical Instruments, miniature paintings, arms and armours, ivory, puppets, kitchen utensils, textile and the list goes on.
One of the main attractions of the museum is the Mastani Mahal. It was originally built by Bajirao Peshwa First between 1730 & 1734 for his legendary beautiful wife Mastani, who was the daughter of King Chhatrasal of Bundelkhand. The monument had turned into ruinous and was impeding an industrialist to build his workplace for business. "For the industrialist, the Mastani Mahal was an obstacle but for connoisseur Dr. Kelkar it was a brilliant opportunity. He removed the Mastani Mahal from its original place and recreated it in the museum premises sometime around 1960," Ranade told IANS.