Shembaganur Museum - Kodaikanal

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The Shenbaganur Museum is the Museum of Natural History of Kodaikanal, spotted at a distance of 5.6 kms from the Kodaikanal Lake, besides the road to Kodaikanal. A regular accumulation of individual stuffs of natural history since the 1920s have now turned to be the key segment of the current museum. The sacred heart college, a theological institution formed in 1895 maintains this Shenbaganur Museum. A one day vacation to the museum would be an ideal suggestion to people touring Kodaikanal. The Shenbaganur Museum has got a compilation of numerous specimens of butterflies, moths, snakes and mammals. Anthropologists would be contented to have a quick look of many shoots and models of dolemms tombs and funeral urns of pre historic people of Palani Hills. There is a herbarium too, having more than 2500 plants and a huge garden.

The museum has one of the best orchidoriums in India, whiche compriese close to 300 species of trees and flower gardens. The two gardens have trees of unique scientific significance. A collection of 300 varieties of timber, in addition to illustrations of plants of Palani Hills have formed a part of this museum.

The Shembaganur museum has two outsized papier mache assistance maps, one casing the entire Palani range, and the other showing Kodaikanal and its backdrop giving a clear broad idea of all the natural formations, geological characteristics and economical developments in and around Kodai. All the streams, roads, rock formations, waterfalls, the lake, the shola forests, etc., of the entire Palani Hills are sown noticeably on these relief maps. Today's Shembaganur museum at Kodaikanal is the hard effort of E. Ugarte under whom the control of the museum came in 1951 from A. Anglade, who found this museum. He set the past collections together and initiated a substantial compilation of butterflies, moths and birds by teams of students. In 1963 Ugarte gave a concise description of the Shembaganur museum assets. It has been published as 'A Museum of the Palanis'. An earlier record was 'The Botanical inventory in the Museum' by Fr. KM Mathew in 1954. The major exhibits/holdings of the museum fall the under categories Anthropology, Flora & Fauna and Handicrafts.

Anthropology : A. Anglade, Rosner and few others have compiled models of dolmens and tombs of megalithic Stone Age (5000-2000BC) and South Indian iron age (700BC-100AD) of the Palani Hills. The various pictures and engraved models of the museum help the spectator to virtually recreate the past. A lot of the dolmens and tombs were damaged later, adding the value of the museum exhibits.

Flora & Fauna : The anthology of conserved specimens and descriptive sketches and paintings with ample texts of all the botanical genera in the vicinity of the Palani hills are showcased in good state contributed by Fr. KM Mathew who primed the creation of the botanical inventory of the museum in 1954. Field notes with collection date, place and other prominent information on insects, butterflies, moths, amphibians, snakes, birds, and mammals are placed collectively with stuffed specimens and instructive sketches and paintings. The key inventory of fauna was published in 1953 by E. Ugarte.

Handicrafts : The handicrafts comprises of 6 big relief maps of the Palani hills and parts thereof. These handicrafts were made-up by A. Anglade in the 1920s with the help of a camera Lucida with all the contours projected with appropriate metal roads and the entire map fixed on a timber board with iron framework. A. Anglade is the person who prepared the wooden carvings of the dolmens and other archaeological finding's.