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RAJA DINKAR KELKAR MUSEUM

A CALL ANSWERED - A LEGACY BESTOWED . . .

A minuscule lane, one among the many in the bustling, momentous city of Pune in Maharashtra, is home to Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, 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 of Late Dr. D.G. Kelkar (1896 -1990). 'Kaka', as Dr. Kelkar was affectionately known dedicated his collection to the memory of his only son `Raja’ who died an untimely death. It is a collection about 21,000 priceless artifacts which mirror the everyday life of India. A testimony to man’s creative spirit - the spirit that breaths beauty into the banal, and puts romance into the mundane. Kaka was a man obsessed with art. A man who, for over sixty years, traveled extensively across the country - to obscure villages and tribal settlements, to grand temples and humble huts, to forgotten attics and folk fares - collecting .. always collecting.

During his school days mathematics was not his cup of tea but poetry certainly was. Late Dr. Dinkar Kelkar was an optician by profession and so also very much fond of history thus he pursued the Historical poetry rather than the Romantic one that most poets of his age pursued. He wrote poems under the anonymous “Adnyatwasi” and this was the starting point for getting interested in the collection of antiquities and art objects somewhere around 1920. The Museum was initially named as “Raja Sangraha” later as “Raja Kelkar Historical Collections” finally got named as “Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum”. During this time the words “Museum” and “Antique” were hardly known to common Indians excepting some elite class. Dr. Kelkar is thus one of the pioneers of Indian Museums.

A connoisseur who had an uncanny vision to spot the exotic in the everyday..... to uncover diamonds under the dust. The impressive Museum collection of 21,000 priceless artifacts recalls the historic Indian culture and traditions, which gently lead to more and more treasures. Creations in stone, wood, metal, ivory, fabric and clay that endure as the full realization of the human craftsmanship. A collection as varied as life itself is as awesome as man’s ingenuity. It is where each artifact reveals the powerful creative craft of its unknown creator, and where each object testifies to the passion and perseverance of Kaka Kelkar, A man who with a single - minded zeal, dedicated himself to the task of giving the arts and crafts of India the recognition, the respect and the immortality they deserve.

Ever since the dawn of civilization, man has been acquainted with the ways of nature. He learnt to understand and adapt these things to his day-to-day implements. Indian culture has assimilated these forms of nature - trees, birds, animals, sky, earth, water, sea- in the course of its evolution and this becomes increasingly evident from our art, crafts, languages and religious rites. These works of Indian artisans and craftsmen inspired Dr. Kelkar to put together single-handedly the collection of artifacts and antiquities at Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum.

Every corner of the Museum bears testimony to an astounding individual passion for art collection: art that is not remote and detached from reality but an integral part of the day-to-day life of India's millions, art that highlights the characteristic Indian obsession of carving motifs out of the mundane, of seeking innovation in tradition. Late Dr. Kelkar was a man driven by an inner calling. His life mission was to gather the best of Indian folk art and craftsmanship, only to bequeath it to the world at large.

Today, as we marvel at the man’s dedication, and applaud his herculean effort, we are invariably mesmerized by the magnitude and magnanimity of his superlative effort. He was a family man, wedded to customary commitments and responsibilities. Yet, he chose to be a nomadic, travelling across the country to singularly amass a priceless collection in a span of 60 years.

The Museum contains variety of every day artefacts, which includes artefacts like Lamps, Palanquins, Carved Woodwork, Tin ware, Combs, Bowls, Stones, Hookahs, Locks, Spittoons, Locks, Musical Instruments, Miniature Paintings, Glass Paintings, lime containers, Intricately Carved Wooden Doors and Windows, Ancient Dwellings, Nut-cutters, Figurines, Bronzes, arms and armours, ivory, kitchen utensils, textile etc. The collection from this Museum reflects the elegance of Indian craftsmanship as well the vivid imagination of the artists. The Mastani Mahal rebuild in the premises of this Museum depicts the story of love between Bajirao Peshwa I and his beloved Mastani.

Needless to say, this eternal voyage that has made the Museum one of the richest in folk art worldwide nearly drove his family to ruins at times, an endeavor that could only flourish on the kind support of family, friends and acquaintances. Fortunately, this he received and gratefully acknowledged. Risking his own stability to pursue his chosen goal, he inspired scores of committed souls to share his dream. This offbeat venture won the participation of elder brother the Late Dr. B. G. Kelkar, wife the Late Smt. Kamlabai Kelkar, only daughter Rekha Hari Ranade and son-in-law Late Dr. H. G. Ranade besides an army of well wishers and followers. No wonder, Dr. Kelkar's invaluable contribution to Indian heritage has been honoured by the Government of India and various other prestigious institutions and individuals worldwide. He has also been showered by generous acknowledgments from the national and international media alike. In a final selfless gesture, Late Dr. D.G. Kelkar donated his personal collection to the State Government of Maharashtra in 1975.

Founder's Story

About Founder – Late Padmashree Dr. D.G. Kelkar alias Kaka Saheb Kelkar (1896-1990)

Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum is a one-man collection of Dr. D G Kelkar (1896-1990). ‘Kaka’ as Dr. Kelkar was affectionately known, dedicated the collection in the memory of his only son ‘Raja’ who died an untimely death. The collection is a testimony to the man’s creative spirit that breaths beauty into the banal and puts romance into the mundane.

The connoisseur had the uncanny vision to spot the exotic in the paraphernalia. Hehad a creative soul, which could uncover diamonds from the soul. Driven by this very creative soul, Kaka, for over 60 years, travelled across the country collecting the artefacts. The collection represents his journey from the grand temples to the humble huts, from obscure villages and tribal settlements to princely states.

Kaka was a poet, under the pseudonym 'Adnyatwasi'. He was a man driven by an inner calling. A man on a mission to gather the finest examples of folk arts and Indian craftsmanship and bequeath them to the world as an invaluable inheritance and a legacy of love.

Kaka’s family, friends and acquaintances supported his vision and played a major part in helping him pursue his passion. The collection of Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum is an eloquent reminder of the invaluable contribution of Kaka’s late wife and partner,Smt. Kamlabai Kelkar (1902 - 1980), and Kaka’s only daughter Sau. Rekha Hari Ranade (Prabhatai).

A collection as varied as life itself is as awesome as man’s ingenuity. It is where each artefact reveals the powerful creative craft of its unknown creator, and where each object testifies to the passion and perseverance of Kaka Kelkar, A man who with a single - minded zeal, dedicated himself to the task of giving the arts and crafts of India the recognition, the respect and the immortality they deserve.

Founder's Story

About Founder – Late Padmashree Dr. D.G. Kelkar alias Kaka Saheb Kelkar (1896-1990)

Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum is a one-man collection of Dr. D G Kelkar (1896-1990). ‘Kaka’ as Dr. Kelkar was affectionately known, dedicated the collection in the memory of his only son ‘Raja’ who died an untimely death. The collection is a testimony to the man’s creative spirit that breaths beauty into the banal and puts romance into the mundane.

The connoisseur had the uncanny vision to spot the exotic in the paraphernalia. Hehad a creative soul, which could uncover diamonds from the soul. Driven by this very creative soul, Kaka, for over 60 years, travelled across the country collecting the artefacts. The collection represents his journey from the grand temples to the humble huts, from obscure villages and tribal settlements to princely states.

Kaka was a poet, under the pseudonym 'Adnyatwasi'. He was a man driven by an inner calling. A man on a mission to gather the finest examples of folk arts and Indian craftsmanship and bequeath them to the world as an invaluable inheritance and a legacy of love.

Kaka’s family, friends and acquaintances supported his vision and played a major part in helping him pursue his passion. The collection of Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum is an eloquent reminder of the invaluable contribution of Kaka’s late wife and partner,Smt. Kamlabai Kelkar (1902 - 1980), and Kaka’s only daughter Sau. Rekha Hari Ranade (Prabhatai).

A collection as varied as life itself is as awesome as man’s ingenuity. It is where each artefact reveals the powerful creative craft of its unknown creator, and where each object testifies to the passion and perseverance of Kaka Kelkar, A man who with a single - minded zeal, dedicated himself to the task of giving the arts and crafts of India the recognition, the respect and the immortality they deserve.

Poet Adnyatwasi

Management

Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum is a priceless treasure donated by Padmashree Late Dr. D.G. alias Kakasaheb Kelkar to the Government of Maharashtra in 1975 and since then, the Museum is aided by the Government of Maharashtra and managed by the Board of Management, which is deeply committed to not only preserving Dr.Kelkar’s collection but also to the growth and development of the Museum.

Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra Ex-officio President
Divisional Commissioner, Pune Division Ex-officio Vice-President
Secretary, Department of Tourism & Cultural, Govt. of Maharashtra Ex-officio Member
Commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation Ex-officio Member
Vice – Chancellor, Savitribai Phule Pune University Ex-officio Member
Dr. G.B. Deglurkar Expert Member
Sudhanva Hari Ranade Director & Member Secretary
Smt. Rekha Hari Ranade Member - nominee
Aurn Laxman Bongirwar, former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra Member
Sanjiv Anant Sathe Member
Surendra Hari Ranade Member

Achievements

1. KAMALNAYAN BAJAJ GRAPHIC ART AND MULTIMEDIA STUDIO

Museums are required to preserve the Cultural Property of any society. It is of utmost importance to accurately document the artefacts. There are more than 21000 artefacts in the RAJA DINKAR KELKAR MUSEUM segregated into 42 sections. There are textiles, paintings, arms and armour, object of beauty culture, woodwork, ivory, nut cutters and bronzes lamps and so on.The initial documentation of the artefacts has been religiously carried out.

The Museum has made an initiation towards the Digitalisation of the accessioned artefacts of the Museum. To carry on this next logical step in the field of documentation of artefacts, the ‘Kamalnayan Bajaj Graphic Art and Multimedia Studio’ was established with a generous aid from the renowned BAJAJ GROUP. The Studio is equipped with number of Computers, Inkjet Laser and Big Banner Printers, A4 and A3 size colour laser printers, Digital Cameras and necessary accessories such as stands, reflector, lenses etc. The digitalisation is being done on atailor-made software developed by M/s C-DAC especially produced for the field of museumdocumentation, called ‘Jatan’. This studio serves the purpose of Digital Documentation, Collection Management, System Automation, and Audio-Visual Presentation alongwith generating publicity and enriching the masses through dissemination of education about rich multifaceted cultural heritage of India. The next phase of this ambitious studio facility will be developed in proposed new museum complex city.

In the year 2007-08, Raja DinkarKelkar Museum tookmarvellous strides in the up gradation of its Permanent Galleries, Publication, Documentation, Conservation Studio and Museum Shoppe. The museum was enthusiastically supported in undertaking the projects for the preservation of the Cultural Heritage housed in here and then presenting to the Museum Visitors the artefacts in better display conditions. The Institution was fortunate to have received funds from:

  • The Ministry of Culture, Government of India
  • The R.D. Tata Trust
  • The Foreign Office of the German Government

The museum offers its gratitude towards the donor organizations for having whole-heartedly encouraged us in upgrading the Museum and its various departments. The museum fore mostly thanks the R.D.Tata Trust that is managed by the Corporate Giants, TATA. The funds extended were utilised on these aspects.

  • Constructing eighty (80) new display cases for four of the permanent galleries. The new display cases are being custom built to suit the need of the artefacts and keeping in mind aspects as strength and durability, aesthetic appeal, with modern lighting such as CFLs and LEDs, adequate storage capacity for space utilization and fore mostly they were made to make them visitor friendly. The museum,on each day, welcomes children, adults, students and foreign visitors and we owe them to make the display most appealing and informative. The galleries would receive a major facelift with the new display cases and the displaywill be redone. In addition to making the display attractive, the museum would also ensure to impart correct knowledge about its exhibits. The textual material would certainly contextualise the display appropriately for our visitors thus making everyone’s visit very enriching.
  • The funds from the Tata Trust also enabled the museum to acquire an elevator to make all the four floors of the museum accessible. This facility was certainly required for the senior citizens, physically impaired visitors and for shifting the heavy exhibits from one floor to another.
  • A portion of the funds was also utilised in acquiring an LCD Plasma TV with a Home Theatre set up to enable the continuous screening of the DVDs on the Museum for the visitors. These documentaries brief about the various sections of the collection of the museum in detail and promote the museum products for sale in the Museum Shoppe.
  • For keeping up the state of cleanliness, the museum was able to purchase vacuum cleaners and floor washing devices. These have been very useful as the museum is located in a dusty environment. In addition,a water purifier and refrigerator was purchased for the museum’s usage.

2008-09 was also special for the Raja DinkarKelkar Museum as for the first time the museum received funding from an international organization. The museum was chosen for funding through a competition of the cultural preservation programme of the German Government. For this project, the museum submitted the proposal called‘Bringing India’s Heritage to The World’, which was approved by the German Government and therefore,the funds were allocated. The German Consulate in Mumbai readily helped the Museum in this project. In addition,the max Mueller Bhavan in Pune forwarded a recommendation letter for the approval of the project. The utilization of the funds was to be made under three heads.

2. IMPROVEMENT OF THE DISPLAY OF TWO GALLERIES

The aid was used for the creation of twenty (20) display cases. These newly constructed display cases have replaced the older showcases that were dilapidated, having been constructed nearly two decades back. Two of the Museum Galleries have been partly redesigned using these showcases having advantageous features as

  • Spacious environment for exhibits
  • Sustenance of Micro Climate for the exhibits
  • Illuminated with LEDs, and CFLs which ensure energy conservation
  • Adequate Storage Provision
  • Better glass for clarity in viewing
  • Tastefully done interior of showcases and pedestals

3.PGRADATION OF THE CONSERVATION LABORATORY

A portion of the funds was utilised for the purchase of many sophisticated instruments useful for R & D work in the existent Conservation Laboratory such as Microscopes, Sensitive Weighing Scales, Chemicals and Glassware, etc. With the acquisition of this scientific equipment, the museum is stepping forward towards the expansion of the Conservation Studio and developing it a Research and Development Center.

4.KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE PROGRAM

The utilization of the funds was also made on a Knowledge Exchange Program,in which, two of Kelkar Museum’s Professionals visited the Uebersee Museum in Bremen, Germany and the Curator, Africa Section, Uebersee Museum visited the Kelkar Museum. The RAJA DINKAR KELKAR MUSEUM has signed Mous with three German museums for the knowledge extension and exchange of people and student interaction.

  • Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe (Museum for Arts and Crafts), Hamburg
  • Hamburger Kunsthalle (Museum for Applied Arts), Hamburg
  • Uebersee Museum (Overseas Museum), Bremen

The aim of this knowledge exchange program is to strengthen the ties between two sister cities Pune-Bremen and enable museum professionals to have an insight into the working methodologies of museums from different nations. The personnel were also able to learn the advancement of technology existent in the fields of display, conservation in European museums and what provisions can be incorporated for the development of our museum.

The project ‘Bringing India’s Heritage to the World’ has been enormously successful as per the above mentionedaspects. To celebrate this success and to present the new display and conservation studio, a small inaugural ceremony was performed at the auspicious hands of Mr.Rahulkumar Bajaj, M.P., eminent industrialist and guest of honour and Mr. Walter Stachel, the consulate general of German consulate in India.

Patrons & Well Wishers

Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Govt. of India

Department of Tourism & Cultural Affairs, Govt. of Maharashtra

Pune Municipal Corporation

Smart Museum

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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

International Associates

RAJA DINKAR KELKAR MUSEUM has signed MoU(Memorandum of Understanding) for cooperation with three noted and leading Museums from Germany namely :

  • Museum fuer Kunst und Gewerbe (Museum for Arts and Crafts), Hamburg
  • Hamburger Kunsthalle (Museum for Applied Arts), Hamburg
  • Uebersee Museum (Overseas Museum), Bremen

Notable Visitors

  1. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru – Prime Minister of India, 1947-64
  2. Shri. Morarjibhai Desai – Prime Minister of India, 1977-79
  3. Shri Yashwantrao Chavan – Chief Minister of Maharashtra, 1960-62
  4. Smt. Pupul Jaykar – Cultural Secretary, Government of India, 1966
  5. Shri. Neelam Sanjeev Reddy – President of India, 1977-82
  6. Shri. Ratnappa Kumbhar – Noted leader and social activist
  7. Shri. Chinmulgundji – Former Education secretary, Government of Maharashtra
  8. Shri. Mohammad Younus
  9. Smt. Indira Gandhi – Prime Minister of India, 1980-84
  10. Shri. Ram Pradhan – Former Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra
  11. Shri. D. D. Sathe - Former Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra
  12. Shri. S.B. Kulkarni – Former Divisional Commissioner, Pune
  13. Shri. Sidhu – Former Divisional Commissioner, Pune
  14. Smt. Harlem Brutland – Prime Minister of Norway, 1990-96
  15. Shri. Shantanurao Kirloskar –Kirloskar Group of Companies
  16. Shri. Dadasaheb Abhyankar – Hico Group of Companies
  17. Shri. P.L Deshpande – Writer, Maharashtra