I visited a very unique and interesting type of museum in my last visit to Kolhapur. I had no idea about it until my sis chalked a plan to take me there. The museum is called ‘Siddhagiri Gramjivan (Village life) Museum’. This unique project is the only of its kind in India and situated at Shri Kshetra Siddhagiri Math, Kaneri near Kolhapur. Many people know about Kaneri Math but very few know about this museum.
For those who even don’t know about ‘Kaneri Math’; here is something – It is holy place with Shiva mandir. It is believed that Shiva linga was installed by a Lingayat Priest on a beautiful hill in the 14th century. The temple is beautiful and peaceful with huge Nandi. About 500 years ago, a Lingayat Priest Kadsiddheshwar Maharaj developed and renovated it and hence the place is now known by his name. A 125 feet deep well and 42 feet huge Shiva idol is another worth watching.
OK. Our main destination is Siddhagiri Gramjivan museum so I am getting back to it.
To reach Siddhagiri Museum:
- Take Kolhapur-Bangalore highway
- Travel approx 10-12 Kms.
- Take right from “Gokul Shirgaon Junction” to go to Kaneri village.
- Drive approx 4-5 Kms to reach Siddhagiri Museum.
We started at 9:00 am and reached there in half-an-hour. The entrance of the museum itself was interesting. We bought tickets and entered inside. This project showcases different aspects of Gramjivan. ‘Gram’ means ‘village’ and ‘jivan’ means ‘life’ in Marathi language. This initiative was dream project of Mahatma Gandhi, visually and symbolically created through the vision and efforts of Siddhagiri Gurukul Foundation. The history of self-sufficient village life before invasion of Mughals in Maharshtra is depicted here in the form of sculptures. Each sculpture seems to be very live and has a multi dimensional effect and lifestyle theme. There were 12 ALUTEDARS (12 main profession based castes i.e. Professions performed from generation to generations by families) and 18 BALUTEDARS, who provided equipments to all villagers to fulfill their day-to-day necessities (domestic as well as professional).
Few of the scenes are –
- Village priest’s abode: First scene is house of highly educated village priest. He performs duties, rites and rituals like weddings, thread ceremony, to find out auspicious day and moments for house building and house warming activities, digging of new wells, sowing seeds, punching of noses and ears etc. He earns his livelihood from ‘Dakshina’ he gets. He consults and then refers to the ‘Panchaang’ (almanac) for finding auspicious occasions.
- Dwelling of goldsmith.
- Nailing the bullock with iron shoe.
- Barber’s shop.
- Village well – Villagers fetching water from public well.
- Nursing of elder family member.
- Grocer’s shop: Woman visiting grocery shop with her son. Shop-keeper is weighing items in old weighing machine. Items like jaggery, sugar, chillies, salt, wheat, rice are kept. Son is asking his mother to buy kites for him.
- Farmer’s ‘Wada’ (house).
- House of ‘Vaidya’.
- Grandma stitching ‘Godhadi’ (quilt).
- Farmers ploughing in farm with bullocks.
- Shepherd boy with his herd of sheep.
- Villagers performing Bhajan and Kirtan (singing Hindu devotional songs).
The museum is spread over 7 acres of area and has almost 80 scenes which showcases more than 300 statues. The surrounding is also very beautiful and there is greenery all over. Each and every small aspect of village life is taken into the consideration. It is perfect blend of wonderful facts, powerful imagination and loads of hard work in getting those expressions and liveliness in whole village. It is just beyond imagination and surprisingly amazing!!!
Inside there is also good facility for refreshments. We enjoyed some snacks and ice-creams. We came out and again there was another good park opposite the museum waiting for us. The park is called ‘Raashi Park’. ‘Raashi’ means ‘Sun sign’ according to Marathi astrology. This beautiful park has beautiful floras along with sculptures of all the Sun signs and short description about each of them. At entrance of park, there is sculpture of bullock cart and a photographer clicking it. I clicked both of these replicas.
The scenes listed above are just trailers. I couldn’t restrict myself from saying “Picture abhi baki hai…mere dost!” and you have to visit here and see it with your eyes to trust me. Next time you visit Kolhapur, make sure you don’t miss this wonderful place.
Thank U sis…for showing me this man-made miracle!!!