A window into the past

Amulya Shodha, Shivamogga - Nrupatunga S K

Life is a phase of non-stop collection of objects for 79-year-old H Khandob Rao, a retired history lecturer. He believes that people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture are like a tree without roots. So, he is not only preserving historical objects but also showcasing our past to the next generation through ‘Amoolya Shodha’, a museum situated on N R Pura Road at Lakkinakoppa, on the outskirts of Shivamogga.

In order to take people to the realms of the past, he developed the museum on 1.5 acres of land amidst his areca plantation. The museum has two buildings: ‘Nenapu Auditorium’, which has the portraits of the kings of erstwhile Mysore kingdom, and swords used in wars. Initially, he developed this museum in memory of his wife Yashodha, who was also a history professor, after she passed away in 2007. The museum was inaugurated on February 22, 2008. This old building is a typical Malnad structure with tiled roof.

Numismatics

Over a period of time, he collected coins, materials of the past, such as princely robes used by Keladi Nayakas, different types of radios, domestic goods used by Malnad people, etc. When his collection increased in number and range, he decided to construct another building with three sections: Nanya Darshani (collection of coins); Malenadu Darshani (Malnad’s heritage) and Bharata Darshani (a window to India). The galleries were opened for public viewing in 2017. The new building is a combination of both modern and traditional Malnad architecture.

Nanya Darshani exhibits coins of the pre-independence and the post-independence period. Besides, Rome, France and American coins are also on display. He also has a collection of gold and silver coins belonging to Vijayanagar empire.
The display boards set up there narrate the history of coins in India.

Rao is a numismatist and his love for collection of coins started in 1967 while he was pursuing BEd course in Shivamogga. He is also a member of Numismatic Society of India. “I used to attend conferences of coins held in various parts of the state and the country to purchase coins.”
Besides, goldsmiths had a good collection of foreign coins because of India’s trade link with these countries during the pre-independence era. But they never sold those rare coins without making high profit.
Recalling a past incident, he said, “I had been to Holalkere town in Chitradurga district to purchase rare coins from an agent following his phone call. I also gave him some money and went towards bus terminal to board the bus. Surprisingly, he rushed to the bus terminal and insisted on me to return the coins saying that owners of the coins wanted them back. Unwillingly, I returned them. After a gap of one year, the same man sold those coins for a higher price. In this way, I have spent lakhs of rupees on these coins. I have a collection of more than 5,000 coins.”

Malenadu Darshani showcases the life and traditions of the people of Malnad. The wooden utensils, domestic materials, various brands of vintage radios, tape recorders are also exhibited. All these items were once part of each household in the region. Besides, models of Shivappa Nayaka palace and traditional Malnad houses attract the visitors.

Bharata Darshani depicts yesteryear’s India from cultural, historical angles. The display of famous lithographs by Raja Ravi Varma; traditional games such as kavade, channe mane, radiograms, various musical instruments, typewriters, limestone boxes of various sizes and designs used by Malnad people, and other exhibits portray the diversity of India. War-related weapons
including swords, knives are also on display.

Folk arts

On his future plans, he said he has plans to construct an auditorium on the first floor of the new building where training on various folk arts would be conducted on regular basis.

He has formed a trust to ensure that the museum would continue to serve as a promoter of history for the generations to come.
Rajaram Hegde, history professor at Kuvempu University, feels that it is one of the must-see museums in the state. “Rao is making an honest attempt to not only preserve antiquities but also educate youngsters about the past. Coins gallery is the most important one in the museum as it narrates the history of coins in India. There is a need to set up boards that contain brief description of materials on display in Kannada and English for the benefit of visitors,” he said.

The museum is open to public on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and on all public holidays. For more details, one can contact Khandob Rao on 9448438299.

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