The Gandhi Memorial Museum is one among the seven places run by the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1959. The palace was constructed in around 1670 A.D.
THE HISTORY of Gandhi Museum
After Rani Mangammal, Tamukkam Palace was occupied by the Nawab of Carnatic, the East India Company and others. On January 30, 1955, Tamukkam Palace with about 13 acres of land was gifted to the All India Gandhi Smarak Nidhi by the Tamil Nadu State Government for the objective of housing Gandhi Memorial Museum.Gandhi has visited Tamil Nadu 14 times of Gandhi had visited Madurai five times during his remarkable political career, March, 26, 1919, September, 21 to 24, 1921, September, 25 to 30, 1927, January, 25 to January, 27, 1934 and from February 2 to 4, 1946 and during this time he had gone to 16 places which holds historical significance.
This is the place in 1921 Gandhi resolved to have a loincloth as his dress that made him popular across the world as “Half Naked Fakir”. Gandhi visited the Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple in 1946. The words he had penned down in the visitor’s book in the temple have also been preserved in the museum.
The museum is located in a quite place near Madurai Thamukkam. It was constructed with three blocks – the first block is a picture gallery presenting a visual biography of Karamchand Gandhi, the second block is a “Hall of Relics”, where the belongings of Gandhi are displayed and the third one is a gallery of Khadi and Village Industries which Gandhi revived.The centre part of the museum building was constructed in Nayak style by Rani Mangammal; the right wing in British style; and the left wing in modern Indian style. There is also a replica of Gandhi kutir – a hut at the Wardha Ashram.
The museum has 14 articles, blood-stained cloth, a pair of spectacles, a towel, dhoti, wooden and leather footwear. The collection also include a spoon made of wood, thread spun by him, shawl, kerchief, pillow, blanket, a letter written to a friend. The library is worth a visit if you want to glean some additional knowledge. There are books by Mahatma Gandhi and books on him and books on Indian culture. You can also have a look at photo copies of about 2,70,000 letters of Gandhiji and 62 reels of micro-films as an important and valuable component of the library’s collection.
The exhibition named “India Fights for Freedom” includes 265 illustrations that explains the history of freedom struggle. There are five study alcoves on the first floor of the Library for Research Scholars. Readers Forum and Book Review Meetings are held from time to time in the Library. Exhibits of letters written personally by Gandhi to Narayana Sathsangi of Devakottai are displayed. A congratulatory message sent by Gandhi to freedom fighter and poet Subramania Bharati is also preserved in this museum.
You can see an interesting letter written by the Mahatma to Adolf Hitler addressing him as “Dear Friend“.
The museum organise educational events for school students on Indian freedom movement and a brief study on Gandhi’s life and reward the winning students on annual competition on freedom movement and Gandhi is also conducted on Gandhi Jayanti day.
Yoga is being taught, Hindi and Sanskrit languages are also taught here.
In addition, the museum also has a mobile exhibition unit with visuals of Gandhi, which takes part in major exhibitions and visits educational institutions on request.The museum gallery also includes spinning wheel gallery, photographic, commemorative, Ashram and Art gallery.
“Though the maintenance inside the museum gallery is good, they do not have clean and safe bathroom facilities. Not sure how did the authorities responsible to manage the museum facilities have never noticed or used these bathrooms for public and for female visitors.” – says a tourist
WHEN TO VISIT
- Museums are open from Tuesday through Sunday: 9.30 AM to 5.30 PM
- Galleries, Display and Exhibitions: 10.00 AM to 5.00 PM
- Library, Photo Section and Audio Visual Section: 10.00 AM to 5.00 PM
- Closed on: Mondays and Second Sundays.
- Entrance to the Museum (all sections) – Free
- Photography in the Museum (still) – Free
- Photography in the Museum (video) – Minimum Rs. 500 per day
- Use of Auditorium or Conference Hall
- i) Half-day: 10.00 to 13.00 hrs or 13.00 to 17.00 hrs: Rs. 600
- ii) Full-day: 10.00 to 17.00 hrs: Rs. 1200
- iii) Audio equipment arrangements: Rs. 300
Visit the following site for current timings – http://gandhimuseum.org