One of the best ways to pick up insights about the local history, art, architecture and culture of a place is by visiting musuems located there. Being a big fan of museums, I decided to visit the Srimanthi Bhai Memorial Government Museum in Mangalore during my recent visit. Located in Bejai this one was started in 1960 and is located on small hillock in the centre of the coastal city. An interesting place to visit in Mangalore, this one sure forms for an engaging visit.
The museum that houses a plethora of antiques and artefacts is actually the erstwhile residence of Col. V.R Mirajkar. The house was designed taking inspiration from the architectural style that exisited in Milan at that time and is shaped like a ship. The house was donated to the Karnataka government in the 1950s along with several antiques and artefacts. It was later converted to a museum and named in memory of his mother Srimanthi Bhai.
Spread over two floors, the museum has objects that have immense scientific and historic significance like coins, handicrafts, paintings and wooden furniture that have been sourced not only from India but other countries like Japan, Turkey, Britan, China, Nepa; etc. Paleolithic and Neolithic stone tools, metal objects, utensils, swords, seals, panels and porcelain form for an engaging collection.
If you are a fan of local culture, do not miss the section that has some interesting masks, puppets and even Yakshagana figurines.
There is also a special section on Gandhiji which captures his life in pictures. The gallery is exhaustive and covers the life and times of the Mahatma, starting from his birth, early life, education in South Africa, his return to India, all the important events associated with the freedom struggle and finally his death.
The outer complex has a number of stone statues, hero stones, Sati stones and even cannons.