Why this blog is called "Gallimaufry".

gal-uh-MAW-free\, noun.

Originally meaning "a hash of various kinds of meats," "gallimaufry" comes from French galimafrée; in Old French, from the word galer, "to rejoice, to make merry"; in old English: gala + mafrer: "to eat much," and from Medieval Dutch maffelen: "to open one's mouth wide."

It's also a dish made by hashing up odds and ends of food; a heterogeneous mixture; a hodge-podge; a ragout; a confused jumble; a ridiculous medley; a promiscuous (!) assemblage of persons.

Those of you who know me, will, I’m sure, understand how well some of these phrases (barring the "promiscuous" bit!) fit me.

More importantly, this blog is an ode to my love for Shimla. I hope to show you this little town through my eyes. If you don't see too many people in it, forgive me, because I'm a little chary of turning this into a human zoo.

Stop by for a spell, look at my pictures, ask me questions about Shimla, if you wish. I shall try and answer them as best as I can. Let's be friends for a while....

14 September 2008

Shimla State Museum

This is the only museum in our little town. It consists of just two floors, the ground floor and the first. If you are coming from the Mall, just keep walking for 2 kilometres, until you reach the Hotel Cecil. Straight up the road is the museum. Be prepared for a really steep walk up the tiny hill.
At the outset, you should know this is not Uffizi; oh no, it is not. If you are looking for a glimpse into the history of Himachal, this is not the place. This is also not the place if you want to see rare antiquities. Do not step in expecting audio guides, or indeed, guides of any sort. The labelling of the collection gives the word basic a new dimension.
The collection itself is meagre and haphazard. There are bits and pieces of statues and you cannot be sure if all of these were actually found in Himachal. Some are connected with Himachal only in that they (the antiquities) belong to India, of which Himachal is a part! There is only a passing reference to the multitude of kingdoms and principalities with all their myriad histories and vivid heritage. Himachal's tribal areas are represented by a group of dolls in tribal dress. There is nothing that tells the curious visitor about the wonderful spiritual and geographic aspects of Himachal's northernmost districts.
There is a room, perhaps ten feet square in area, that is home to a set of wonderful paintings by Paramjeet Singh. These have absolutely no connection whatsoever with the rest of the collection! As you walk out of the room where the paintings are displayed, you will be startled by the sight of a cluster of old guns nailed to a wall. These are the museum's sole acknowledgement of Shimla's British history.
The lighting is rudimentary and does nothing to enhance the aspect of the exhibits. In any case, the main theme seems to be to store a bunch of old nick-knacks stored any which way. The cases where they are kept are the sort in vogue in the 1960s. Just minimal structures with wooden shelves.
That said, it's a nice little place, located at the end of a long-ish walk. It is a place to go to if you have nothing else to do on a weekend. If you have the energy, walk further up to Boileauganj, into Krishna Sweets - if only to drown your sorrows in a plate of hot jalebies.


keerti said...

hey u really took me bk 2 my childhood- this 'museum' used 2 b quite a hallowed place fr us! felt real nostalgic on seeing the photo of the bldg.

Dr. Sandeep @ Shimla India- Shimla travel guide said...

I really love this place.I love the masterpieces made by the Pahari children.Shimla as a whole has been my favourite place to spend my holidays with my friends.

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