An assortment of artefacts

An assortment of artefacts

The temple town of Keladi in Sagara taluk is synonymous with the Nayaka dynasty, a prominent dynasty which ruled the region between late 15th to mid 18th centuries. The Nayakas built a number of temples including the renowned Aghoreshwara Temple of Ikkeri and Keladi Rameshwara Temple. A fine combination of the Kadamba, Hoysala, Vijayanagar and Dravida styles of architecture, these temples attract scores of tourists every year.

Located close to the Keladi Rameshwara Temple is the Keladi Museum and Historical Research Bureau. Established in 1978 by Keladi Gunda Jois, the museum is now affiliated to Kuvempu University. This museum is a treasure trove of artefacts and is of considerable significance to historians and scholars alike. It also has several objects related to the times of Keladi rulers.    

Period pieces

With several improvements from time  to time, the museum has played a pivotal role in documenting the details and heritage of the Keladi dynasty and its famous rulers like Chennamma and Shivappa Nayaka. It has several interesting antiques such as coins, copper plates and inscriptions providing insightful information on the Keladi royalty.

There are exquisite brass idols and several paintings on display, which are a treat for culture enthusiasts. Many of these idols have been recovered from the Hoysala and Chalukya periods and date back to between 16th and 18th centuries. There are also stone sculptures including hero stones, sculptures of Jain tirthankaras. Among prominent paintings, S K Lingannayya's 'Bhagavadgeetha' and 'The Guardian Angel of the British Empire' are on display. The paints in these are made up of organic pigments.    

The museum also has diverse items like vessels, arms and weapons of the Nayaka period. Other objects of daily use during that time including locks, keys, betel nut crackers, combs, weights and measures, etc, are also on display. It also has a large collection of coins and many of them  date to the times of the Wadiyar dynasty, Tipu Sultan and the Portuguese.

Preserving manuscripts

The highlight of this museum is the presence of almost 1,000 paper and palm leaf manuscripts written in different languages including Kannada, Sanskrit and Telugu. In addition, there are close to 400 palm manuscripts that are in Tigalari script. They pertain to myriad subjects like mathematics, astronomy, medicine, history and  Dharmashastra. The erstwhile system of filing and maintaining records can also be seen in the form of folded kadathas.

There is a considerable amount of effort involved in preserving and maintaining the palm leaf manuscripts. The museum is also involved in digitising and indexing all records. Essential oils are also used to preserve the quality of the manuscripts. The museum's ongoing contribution to knowledge maintenance and sharing has been commendable and has been attracting tourists and scholars.

Keladi Museum is open from Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm for visitors. It is closed on public holidays. One can contact the museum's curator, Keladi Venkatesh Jois, on 9448839739.

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