International Museum Day 2020: Past Continuous

Monday, 18 May 2020

In and around Pune, there are many heritage sites and monuments that are an example of our shared history, culture and people. These sites are not technically museums, but they are unarguably the tools that help us understand our past better. The theme for International Museum Day 2020 (May 18) is ‘Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion’. And, these images do justice to the theme.

In and around Pune, there are many heritage sites and monuments that are an example of our shared history, culture and people. These sites are not technically museums, but they are unarguably the tools that help us understand our past better. The theme for International Museum Day 2020 (May 18) is ‘Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion’. And, these images do justice to the theme.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Market, Camp
The 128-year-old Chhatrapati Shivaji Market wears a deserted look during the lockdown. The Grade I heritage building teems with around 500 shops, selling fish meat, veggies and other assorted goods. 

Photo: Anand Chaini

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Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Mandai, Shukrawar Peth
It’s difficult to imagine the always bustling Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Mandai in the central neighbourhood of Pune, gone all quiet. The police are out on the streets, with the vegetable vendors and residents staying indoors during the lockdown.

The biggest retail vegetable market in the city is housed in an iconic building from the colonial era. The structure is dominated by an 80 feet central, squat, octagonal tower. A verandah surrounds the tower with a tiled roof. This covers the ground and first floor. Four market wings housing the majority of the stalls radiate out from the ground floor verandah. The market is entered via gothic arches located at the ends of each of the wings. Source: Wikipedia

Photo: Anand Chaini

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Pataleshwar Temple, JM Road
The Pataleshwar temple on JM Road is an oasis of peace and tranquillity. A familiar sight would be of students writing or cramming their notes in the cool environs.

The rock-cut temple is said to be carved in the 8th century during the Rashtrakuta period. Hewn from single basalt rock, the temple has a shrine of Lord Shiva and Nandi. On Mahashivratri, the temple sees a long, serpentine queue of devouts waiting for a darshan.

Photo: Anand Chaini

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Vishrambaug Wada, Bajirao Road

The summer retreat of Peshwa Bajirao II, Vishrambaugwada, on Bajirao Road perhaps has never seen or felt the silence of the streets for this long. An eye-catching structure on the congested commercial street, the wada is spread over 20,000 sq feet. Till early 2000, the wada housed some of the offices of Pune Municipal Corporation.

Photo: Anand Chaini

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Bhuleshwar Temple, Pune-Solapur Highway
Intrepid traveller and actor Milind Gunaji writes about Bhuleshwar in his book, Mystical, Magical Maharashtra, “the beautiful architecture and intricate carvings of Bhuleshwar temple are worth seeing.” The temple is about 45 km away from Pune, near Yawat on Pune-Solapur Highway. A protected monument, the temple has an idol of Ganapati in the garb of a woman and is variously called as Ganeshyani, Lambodari or Ganeshwari.

Photo: Vaibhav Thombare

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Habshi Gumbez, Junnar, 75 km north of Pune
The mausoleum of Habshi Gumbez is characterised with a domed roof, placed within which are nine tombs said to be those of the Habshi, his wife, six children and servant. Locally, it is said that Habshi Gumbez was a Sardar or a nobleman serving Malik Amber, an Abyssinian or a Siddi, who ruled over Ahmednagar and Aurangabad.

The entrances of Gumbez are located on the south and east of which the south entrance is beautifully carved with an inscription above the lintel. The east is a narrow doorway under a pointed arch. The interior of the mausoleum is an octagon, and every other octagonal side is embrasured and arched. The west side is covered with texts from the Quran. The exterior walls form a quadrangular figure; the upper portion of the wall-veil terminates in an artistic cornice of brick and chunam, consisting of pointed arches resting on tiny pedestals and interlacing each other. Small minarets grace each of the four corners of the building. (Source: Archaeological Survey of India)

Photo: Vaibhav Thombare

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Chapekarwada, Chinchwad
A woman pays tribute to Krantiveer Damodar Hari Chapekar on his death anniversary at Chapekarwada. Chapekarwada is the residence of the Chapekar Brothers -- Damodar, Balkrishna and Vasudev. They were hanged in Pune for killing British official Walter Charles Rand on June 22, 1897.

Photo: Vaibhav Thombare

Texts: Ambika Shaligram