Stuff I Know

Just stuff by me about me and my life, such as it is.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The State of State Museums

Still in Tamil Nadu state. Tanjore (Thanjavur) is a city with another World Heritage listed temple. (Maybe I should get a list and start checking off World Heritage sites.) And I think this is a temple that does deserve listing. It is rather impressive. Just the enormity of the main temple is a sight in itself.

This photo is deceiving. This tower is very tall.

Typical carvings on the towers. This particular tower has not been cleaned yet.

Also, the carvings around the temples are very involved. In addition, this particular temple has one of the largest Nandi (bull) statues in India. It was carved from a single piece of rock.

A big black bull which was the ride of Shiva (?).

Another site to visit in Tanjore is the Royal Palace and Museum. Sorry, no pictures inside the museum. It costs extra if you want to use a camera around the palace. Many places are like that in India, which is just another way to screw the tourist. Who goes on a vacation and doesn't take a camera?

Another thing about tourist sites in India is that some of them will have variable pricing schemes. Locals pay one price, but foreign tourists pay a higher price. This kind of thing really irks me. OK, maybe they want to raise more money to take care of the sites. Well why don't they charge the locals more. Usually more locals come than foreign tourists. Now before you think I am whining about a little bit more money, the foreigner price is usually 10 or 20 times more than the locals' price. As far as I know, no place in America charges foreign tourist a different price than local tourists. For whatever reason you do it, it still smacks of discrimination. Hasn't the time come to treat everyone as equals.

But I sneaked a picture from the top of the tower in the palace anyway.

The museum in the palace is "OK" but I do have to say it suffers the same fate as other state museums in India. Many state museums (at least that I have visited) seem very neglected. They are dark and dusty with peeling paint, moldy exhibits, and not a lot in the way of information or organization, and I don't just mean English information.

As you wander through a museum, you may be followed by a guard. It is not that he expects you will steal something. He is just there to turn off the lights and lock the doors as you leave each gallery. You may be one of the few visitors they have all day. It is a shame that the museums seem to have been forgotten by the people whom they were probably originally developed for.

There are often some very interesting, real museum quality, items hidden amongst the plethora of Hindu deities. You see something and wonder what is the story behind the "Decorative Glassware of Czechoslovakia." How did it get to this particular museum. And what really is the "Pipe like article made by blind boys of Jerusalem with silver inlay work of Arabic script."

I expect the cleaning lady sweeping up chips of paint fallen from the walls, who sees these items nearly every day, knows just as little about them as I do. It's a shame.

Here are the photos from Tanjore.

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At 2:23 PM, Blogger jmlo said...

amazing...great pictures and commentary...jamma rek!


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