First phase of renovation completed at a cost of Rs. 1.25 cr. sanctioned by Ministry of Culture

With the first phase of renovation works getting over, the Gandhi Memorial Museum in Madurai now sports a refurbished look — an amalgamation of tradition and modernity.

The Gandhi Asthi Peetam, which contains some of Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes, has been beautified and is perfectly landscaped. Besides, the Gandhi Kudil, a replica of the hut where Mahatma Gandhi stayed at Wardha in Maharastra has been revamped and is now seen with a fresh coat of paint.

According to M. Mariappan, secretary of the museum it is the first major renovation to be carried out in the museum since it was established in 1969. “We wanted to retain the cultural and historical ethos of the museum, at the same time renovate and remodel it”, Mr Mariappan told The Hindu.

In the first phase, two halls – the Vinobha Prayer Hall and NMR Subbaraman Hall have been constructed. “The Vinobha Prayer Hall will be utilised for prayer meetings, whereas a visual gallery on the life of NMR Subbraman will be set up in the hall named after him recalling his role in getting the historical palace of Rani Mangammal for the museum”, Mr Mariappan added.

The Union Ministry of Culture has sanctioned Rs 2.5 crore for the renovation of the museum, and Rs 1.25 crore was released with which the first phase has been completed.

In the second phase of renovation, which will commence soon, the main building containing the gallery exhibiting biographic artefacts of Mahatma Gandhi is likely to get a facelift. The museum gallery in the main building has 14 original artefacts used by Mahatma Gandhi and 32 model artefacts, besides the blood stained dhoti worn by Gandhiji at the time of his assassination.

“We are planning to renovate the guest house, build an administration office and modernise the Andrews Kudil by providing tiled roof to the building. We are also contemplating on constructing residential quarters for the staff of the museum”, Mr Mariappan said.

Meanwhile, the State government has also sanctioned Rs 2.5 crore for renovation and maintenance of the museum. “A part of the State government’s fund will be utilised for the revival of the government museum inside the Gandhi Memorial Museum, which is in a dilapidated condition”, he concluded.

The Gandhi Memorial Museum attracts an average of 15,000 visitors per month. Between April 2011 and March 2012 alones 2,49,952 visitors are said to have visited the museum and 17,708 among them were foreign tourists.

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