Decades Of History Here
The Colonial Building of the 19th Century at present houses the Bronze Gallery, Archeological Collections and Epigraphy, Numismatics, Anthropology, Arts, Zoology andBotany and Geology. This National Art Gallery is the finest specimen for the Indo-Saracenicstyle of architecture built with red sand stone. The artifacts such as 16th and 18th century Mughal buildings, Deccan art of the 17th century and the displays of bronzes from 10th and 13th centuries and handicrafts of various periods are present here. Visiting hours : 09:30 am to 05:30 pm The entrance ticket is Rs.15/- for an Indian and Rs.250/- for Foreigner.
Food (for thought).
It has long irked me that whenever out-of-station relatives and acquaintences come by to town: and ask :"So What is there to see in Chennai?" : we rarely venture apart from the movies, food and drink, the Beach,(add Mall to this list), or whisk him/her/them away to some Resort or golf club on the outskirts of Madras and hope to impress them and ourselves with indulgence of the time spent there. After all, Madras is the first 'well done' British Bastion this side of the country and there is a lot of local flavour to top it up as well. In saying that , there are tons of places that you can show people around :provided you yourself did venture to read and find out about these places , because if you dont evince interest : rest assured your 'audience' wont. One such place is the Egmore Museum on the busy Pantheon Road. Anyone who is from Madras (and a conservative estimation people from down south) ,if they have been to Madras have had the Egmore Museum on their Tour itenary .Given the relative age and the lack of proper guidance to information being shown, I doubt ,though, that they, or for that matter :any of us: did understand anything from it apart from gorging on icecreams and cheap candies on the ever-welcome excursion from the boredom in the classroom. My dad, I remember, was better at explaining what was displayed than any of his relatives , when we did come to visit back then during summer vacay to India. It is that sense of belonging that makes me want to visit this place ,once in a while, to look around in awe everytime I set foot there on the beauty painfully collected and displayed. When we visited :last weekend : we did see 1) The Archeology section (Includes South and North indian stone carvings from various places/ temple scones, gargoyles (for want of a better word), columns and structures, various dieties,caligraphy and evolution of the indo aryan script and the Mohenjodaro/ Harrapa Pots and coinage. 2) The Zoology section : Includes Skeletal/ Bust/ stuffed preservation of all types of Animals, birds, reptiles etc. 4) The Bronze Gallery (Includes Shivite,Vaishnavite,jain,buddhist Idols) and a coin collection. 5) The Art Gallery (on the first floor : Includes Life portraits of earstwhile British Heads, Raja Ravi Varmas portraits and some contemporary art). 6) The Arms Gallery (which includes Arms and Artillery used, Musical instruments etc. housed in the main building (the circular one). What we skipped : 1) The Botany gallery (preserved plants and economic significant devolopment in diff. industries relating to the same). 2) The Childrens Museum (surely for kids: lots of demo structures!) 3) The Modern/contemporary Gallery. (They dont have a proper legend to the same: relatively unknown artists). 4) The Philately (Stamps )collection: ( Was more like the GPO setup a collection there. nothing new: or should i say :old). 5) The ground floor of the arts section (Has a presentation on motors and the like a la the 'Vishweshwarayya science museum in Bangalore). 6) The Connemara Library. (Did not see the need to go there. It is used by researchers , collegiates etc for research and reading). 7) The Science section : (origin of the universe and planets models etc). Its not that the ones that we skipped were unimportant. My concept of going to a Museum is more in terms of appreciating things of the past,Not current devolpments of significant economic and utilitarian value. Certain other things were not unique to this museum. The sections: 1) The Bronze section: Newly done and well tucked away behind the renovated Victoria Hall in the Campus. This section now boasts of Air Cooling and Bronze structures in well enclosed cases backed by CCTV survillance. Highlights: The ground floor is dedicated to Shivism ( Shiva and consorts,Nataraja, his sons, aides and misc.). The first floor has a coin section and a continuation of Shiva and misc. The second floor has addln. coins and Vishnavite idols (Vishu, different avatars, consorts,aides and misc.), Jainism and Buddhist idols. Dates: Span from 6th-13th century.Various places ranging from present day TN and AP.(Apparently, down south was a big Jain destination as well). Coins range : Indian (North and South), Roman, Greek and Arab/ Mughal , British . There is also a copy of the 'Magna carta' 2)Zoology section :Located immediately behind the Circular Building. Highlights: Ground floor covers Birds, Mammals, Reptilian,Aquatic skeletons and skins. Stuffed specimens of a few species of Mammals, birds, busts of 'Game Animals'. There is a Huge Skeleton of an Indian Whale (said to be washed ashore in Mangalore around the 18th century). My father told me that he was 5 when he came to this Museum and he remembers the skeleton. It is still here !! As is the skeleton of a Tusker and a Huge Stuffed Turtle. The upper floor about covers the same. With an addition of snakes and other replilian specimens in spirit. 3)The Art Gallery: Located towards the extreme left of the main enterance. Highlights: The ground floor has a horse pulled carriage (minus horses) that was used by the governor during the days of the Raj. It is heavy and made of solid Iron. Worth noticing the lanterns on the side. The first floor has life size portaits of (to name a few): Chisolm ( who designed the Chepauk Palace), Sir Stanley (of the Stanley Hospital/ Reservoir fame), Lord Cornwallis. The Beauty of the floor has to be Raja Ravi Varma's depecition of Women. THEY ARE JUST BEAUTIFUL AND PRICELESS. Spent a good hour there. 4)The Archeology section: Located on the right to the main enterance. Highlights: Ground floor has stone carvings of depections of various gods/ godesses/ Temple truss/Aides/Misc. of Hindu Mythology in various art forms (Pallava/Chola/ Pandya) ,Bhuddist, Jain sculptures from TN,AP,Karnataka and even as far as Madhya Pradesh. First Floor : Evolution of the Devanagri script and other languages from it (All India Languages, Greek, Ashokan, Mauryan) and Pots/ Urns/Coins from the Harrappa-Mohenjodaro Site. 5)The Armoury: The circular Building. Highlights : Cannons brought from various battles on Display @ the front of entire section. These things are important : 1) Ensure you keep your ticket with you @ all times. It is very delicate. And the ushers @ each section clip the same pass. No entry to each section without those passes. 2) Visit the website and keep a list of places that you want to see and list your priority. Each section is very very exhausting. If you do happen to take the section nearest to you : you end up skipping the sections you like : as you will be sapped going thro the first few sections itself. for eg: I wanted to start with the Bronze section and the Paintings . We ensured we hit that first. 3) Preferably : dont go there with a timeline limitation in mind. Go there to enjoy yourself .If you time it : you will be eager to keep counting the time: like a tourist operator. If you are not on a timeline: Honestly, break it up into sections and go there on cosecutive days (the ticket is 10 per adult.Surely money is the least of your worries here !.Cameras extra. 4) Read up or ask for a guide for the sections. If you can : get a friend who knows a lot about what is being displayed. He/ She/ They need not have read the subject. Most people read as a hobby about things like these ( I do). So it would be of great help in getting them along. You probably would have to buy them lunch. But whats lunch to learning? Atleast you wont be having a blank expression after you return :).There are Guides for hire as well. But they tend to rush you on. 5)Carry somemthing you can drink. So you dont have to keep running in and out for refills. 6)DONT TOUCH any exhibits. Some of them are very old. Curiosity killed the cat. 7)If you encouter a bunch of tourists or school kids. Dont rush yourself. You CANNOT outrun them. You will ,instead, miss out on the fun. 8)There are some sections which are cordoned off with 'Do not enter' signs. It means : dont enter. Simple. 9)It has also (more recently) grown to be a place where Theatre and Drama has come alive. Usually : there are passes available over @ certain places. Worth a few weekends to check out. For further details please check : http://www.chennaimuseum.org/draft/geninfo/geninfo.htm Disclaimer : I am ONLY a history buff. Anything documented here,might not be exact : so dont use this as a reference. Also, all I know is either thro (limited) reading and word of mouth: both of which are not to be trusted 5 seconds later :) All the info that you need is listed in the abovementioned website. Although the website lists a lot of information: it is best understood : that the 'functional museum' is not all that is shown on the website. 5 Stars: Egmore's Museum always inspires the learner in me.And in my opinion, lightyears ahead of the one in Bangalore in terms of content and variety.
A Day is not Enough!
The first Government-sponsored Museum in the country, it opened in Chennai in 1851. Its collection of Bronzes and Buddhist antiques is among the best. Especially impressive are the Arms gallery, its pre-historic collection, its philatelic collection, its antique jewellery and the musical instruments collection. The museum has an auditorium of its own. All the buildings inside the museum grounds are old and very intricate. The museum is closed on Sundays
All of us have staples that we order every time we eat at a particular restaurant. Neha Malude finds three chef specials that you must try the next time you step into these places for a bite.
This month Chennai prepares to turn into an entertainment hotspot. Neha Malude tells you what all you can look forward to.