Minister moots idea of moving the Museum to Palace or Zoo premises
Mysore/Mysuru: If the fragrance of sandalwood attracts you, check out a wide array of sandalwood products and learn about its cultivation and history at India’s first Sandalwood Museum.
This first-of-a-kind museum has been set up by the Mysuru Forest Davison at the Sandalwood Depot in Aranya Bhavan at Ashokapuram in city and was inaugurated by District Minister S.T. Somashekar this morning.
The museum has been conceptualised in such a way that it will help spread awareness about the history and the cultivation of sandalwood products. Notably, Mysuru is quite famous for its sandalwood soaps, sandalwood oil, incense sticks, etc.
Speaking on the occasion, Somashekar said that he had asked Forest Department officials to establish the Museum at Mysore Palace premises after seeking permission from the Palace Board as the Palace premises is a high-security zone and the products displayed at the Museum are valuable and need that level of security.
Pointing out that even the Palace Board had indicated that they would construct a building to house the Museum, the Minister said that as it is a long and time-consuming procedure, the Museum has been established at Aranya Bhavan. He added that space is available at Mysuru Zoo premises also and mooted the idea of shifting the Museum there after holding discussions on the safety and security of the Museum and the Zoo.
Demand for scented wood
Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF), Mysuru, Dr. K.C. Prashanth Kumar said that the main aim of establishing the Sandalwood Museum is to encourage sandalwood cultivation and added that the cultivation area had reduced as there is confusion among growers whether sandalwood could be grown and sold legally.
Due to fewer growers, the supply of sandalwood has reduced drastically though the demand has gone up resulting in the cost of sandalwood going up, the DCF said. Pointing out that anyone could purchase up to 3 kg of sandalwood for puja purposes at the ‘Gandhada Kote’ in Aranya Bhavan premises, he said that buyers need to produce his/her Aadhaar card or Voter ID.
Prashanth Kumar said that experiments were going on to install microchips to sandalwood trees in the State to prevent thefts and added that microchips have been successfully installed in Tamil Nadu and the same would be taken up in Karnataka in a year or two after the success of the experiment.
What’s in the Museum?
The Museum has been set up by the Regional Forest Department in an area of 17X8 metres (55.77X26.24ft) at a cost of Rs. 18 lakh.The Museum has a display of Sandalwood classification, types of sandalwood, billets, dust of sandalwood, sandalwood products such as incense sticks, sandal soaps, sandalwood sculptures, talcum powder, etc. and posters containing information pertaining to sandalwood growing and prevention of diseases.
The Museum is open to the public on all days (except on Sundays and general holidays) from 10 am to 5 pm.Also, a separate room and an auditorium with a projector and seating arrangements has been constructed for visitors who could learn more about sandalwood cultivation and have first-hand information about it through interviews of successful sandalwood growers. Audio information pertaining to sandalwood would also be provided to the visitors.
Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha, MLAs S.A. Ramdas and L. Nagendra, MUDA Chairman H.V. Rajeev, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) – Project Tiger Director Jagath Ram, Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) – Mysore Circle T. Heeralal, Mysuru Zoo Executive Director Ajit M. Kulkarni, ‘Gandhada Kote’ Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF) P. Shivashankar Swamy, Range Forest Officers (RFOs) K.N. Rangaswamy, P. Anusha, R. Girish, B. Prashanth Kumar and others were present.