Pune’s Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum contains the collection of Dr Dinkar G. Kelkar (1896–1990), dedicated to the memory of his only son, Raja, who died an untimely tragic death.
The collection was started in the 1920s and by 1960 it contained around 15,000 objects. By all accounts Kelkar was a man obsessed with art. For over those forty years he traveled extensively across India – to obscure villages and tribal settlements, to grand temples and humble huts, to forgotten attics and folk fares – relentlessly collecting.
In 1962, Dr Kelkar handed his collection to the Department of Archaeology within the Government of Maharashtra.
Since then the collection has grown further, and now holds over 20,000 objects of mainly Indian decorative items from everyday life as well as other art objects mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries. Amazingly the three-storey building that houses the museum only has about 15% of the entire collection on display to the public.
To give the museum justice you need to set aside about 2-3 hours, there is so much to see here. The collection is a showcase of Indian artists of the time, with almost every imaginable object being represented; door frames, vessels, ornaments, musical instruments, paintings, carvings, textiles, toys, bronze deities…the list is almost never ending !
From a photographers perspective the museum poses some challenges; the lighting is quite poor, some display cases could do with a wipe together with some interesting choices of colour for backdrops,. Plus of course flash should never be used in such places.
A visit to the Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum in Pune is a great way to spend half a day in the city. It’s all too easy to get lost among the items on display and you never quite know what is around the next corner. Places like this need as much support as possible, and it’s one of those places you can return to again and be assured to notice things that you missed the first time around. And yes, I do speak from experience, I have been twice 🙂
The Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum is open from 10.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m
1377-78, Natu Baug,
Off. Bajirao Road,
Pune – 411 002
:+ 91 20 2448 21 01,
+ 91 20 2446 1556
+ 91 20 2447 44 66.
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