One of a kind

The recently built wax museum near Belgaum is becoming popular because of its unique nature.

Heard of Siddhagiri museum? It's not just enough if you have just heard of it, its worth a visit. Nestled in the green hillock of Kaneri village, the semi-open museum is housed within the premises of nearly 1,200 years old Siddhagiri Math housing Shivaling temple, four km off Pune-Bangalore National Highway No.4 (10 km from Kolhapur city of Maharashtra; 105 km from Belgaum city).

Major attraction

Developed only about two years ago it is the brainchild of the present and 27th pontiff of the math, Shri Adrushya Kadasiddeshwar Swamiji. He conceived the idea of building the museum with the objective of showcasing the rich cultural heritage of India and serve the cause of posterity, says Govind Tanavade, a senior staff member at the Siddhagiri math.

The museum is essentially a depiction of the ountry's spiritual and philosophical life, and also highlights Vedic science Vedic science and Ayurveda in one section. Self-reliant village life symbolised by Mahatma Gandhi's concept of gram swarajs– shown through sand-cement statues with props and natural backgrounds.

Spread over five acres, the visitor's journey is through a caved section where beautifully sculpted statues of great saints and sages — the father of ayurveda, Charaka; Maharishi Kashyap, who is regarded as the first paediatrician of the world; Pantanjali, founder of Vaisheshika; Chanakya, economist-politician; Nagarjuna, metallurgist; Bhaskara, mathematician, religious life, Yoga training, Bharatntya training, etc. are installed. An information note on each of them is a big help to the visitor.

Reviving culture

Subsequently, the cave opens into a sprawling open and semi-open museum of life-size statues in natural fields and bricked houses, which portrays, rather replicates the typical village life, favourite pastimes, the nyaya-panchayat children playing gilli-danda, farmer sowing seeds in a field, men and women fetching drinking water from open community well and the cattle grazing and different traditional avocations such as lime stone making, edible oil extraction, cow dung cake making, carpentry, goldsmith, cobbler, butcher, leather tanner, weaver, tailor, ayurveda clinic and so on. Undoubtedly, the old and migrants from villages to urban centres become nostalgic while the child visitor from metros get a fresh glimpse about the village life.

The statues, props and backgrounds are so life-like that one is struck by the skills of the sculptors' team headed by Yallappa H. Uppin of Karnataka.

So much so that some of the visitors tend to compare this museum with Madame Tussauds, a wax museum housing wax-idols of celebrities in London with branches in several other major cities across the world. However, the Siddhageri museum differs both in the material used and philosophy, as observed a visitor from Mumbai.


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