BENGALURU: A treasure trove for lovers of the humble post office as well as philatelists is set to open its doors to the public shortly on Museum Road in the city. Spread across six halls and a verandah, the 140-year-old Museum Road Post Office Complex, the venue for Sandesh (Museum of Communication), is an ideal venue to showcase heritage.
Among the delightful objects you can expect to bump into at the museum are ancient cash bags used by delivery men, the ‘Mail Runner’ belt used as an identity card by postmen, the age-old bicycle used to deliver letters, the huge lanterns carried at nights by delivery men when trudging kilometres across different villages, and the post boxes of different sizes and shapes used over the decades. “A Postal Museum already exists within the Postal Training Centre in Mysuru, but this will be a massive, full-fledged one,” said an official.
Charles Lobo, Chief Postmaster General, Karnataka Region, told CE, “We wanted to showcase the rich heritage of the postal services to all, particularly the younger generation. The crucial role the post office played in establishing communication between people across the country and the world is being displayed here.”
The ancient V-SAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) used to send details of the addressee of a Money Order sits imposingly in a separate room. In the main hall where objects are displayed, are placed ancient typewriters, Morse Code equipment, and a Bell telephone. The walls are decked up with laminated photographs. A few – like the floating post office in Dal Lake in Srinagar, and the world’s highest post office at Hikkim in Himachal Pradesh – reveal that every nook and corner in the country has been penetrated by the postal department. The sketches of the General Post Offices in Madras, Calcutta, Bangalore and Bombay decades ago juxtaposed together in one frame is a big eye-catcher.
A visual treat packed with information is in store for any philatelist. On display are stamps released under different themes, like ‘Birth of the Nation’ and ‘Mysuru Anache’, as well as those celebrating Indian culture, art and architecture, festivals, literature, cinema, Hindustani and Carnatic music, and even Panchatantra.
Luminaries and objects from Karnataka have been given priority in the display. The background information on each stamp pertaining to the state – the 6 anna Gol Gumbaz, 2 paise Bidriware, 70 paise Hampi Chariot, Rs 15 Sandalwood – is enlightening. Stamps on Kuvempu, R K Narayan and the Kannada Jnanpith awardees are showcased in the Literature segment.
A modern addition to Sandesh is a 50-seater hall with an LCD screen, where footage pertaining to different aspects of the postal world will be beamed. Entry to the museum will be free and schoolchildren are expected to flock the venue.