It’s described as India’s biggest mythological theme museum. Whether it’s the vanavasam (life in forest-exile) of Lord Rama or the churning of the ksheera sagaram (milky ocean), this museum presents Indian mythology to devotees, especially youngsters, in a simplified manner.
The aim of the 18-acre museum, Kunda Satyanarayana Kaladhamam at Yadagirigutta in Nalgonda district in Andhra Pradesh, is to recreate Hindu mythology be it the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavat Gita or other Puranas through sculptures employing ultra-modern artistic techniques.
“The best part about Kaladhamam is that you can have the darshan of all the Gods in one place, it also gives an opportunity to children and families to have a good time, while learning about stories from Hindu mythology,” says 73-year-old Kunda Satyanarayana, the man behind the Kaladhamam.
The death of his youngest son Surendra Babu in 1991 had created a ‘void’ in his life. A strange ‘despair’ engulfed the ever-energetic Kunda and the insatiable desire in him to do something in memory of his father and youngest son saw the birth of the museum.
“When my youngest son died, I desired to do something in his memory and I came up with the idea of building a mythological park and it took me over 12 years to successfully give shape to this dream project,” he says.
He zeroed in on this idea when he realised that it was impossible for anybody to visit all the temples in one lifetime. Satyanarayana disposed of all his property and pumped in about Rs 6 crore to complete this project, which he entrusted to Chennai-based sculptor C Rajendran, the man behind making the hugely popular 53-feet statue Khairatabad Ganesha in Hyderabad every year.
Satyanarayana felt that there is a need for a place that could attract the younger generation and teach them a little about their heritage and mythology. “The objective is to present, preserve and promote the cultural heritage of India as portrayed in the ancient Indian classics, to the contemporary society, in an interesting and captivating presentation,” says Satyanarayana. His grandfather Kunda Venkaiah was a pious man; and credits him for sowing the seeds of spirituality in him at a tender age.
First of its kind in the world, the museum is open throughout the week, it has more than 85 replicas of temples with more than 3,000 idols. The museum also feature replicas of ancient Hindu temples.
The celestial worlds of Brahmaloka, Vishnuloka, Sivaloka, Indraloka, Yamaloka and Patalloka are some of the realms created. Replicas of famous temples have been erected at a massive cost. Each creation here, a wonder in its own right, is bound to touch the heart. Like the 36-feet-high sculpture, depicting Lord Krishna enlightening Arjuna with message of the Bhagavad-Gita, the army in the Kurukshetra war, scenes from Lord Rama’s battle at Lanka to get Sita back, the churning of the milk ocean and lord Maha Vishnu lying on Ananta Sesa or Kaliya Lila to name a few.
A 60-km drive away from the city, the museum presents a great opportunity to devotees to get acquainted with the fascinating events and teachings of Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagawad Gita and other Puranas.
Filled with white clouds and royal swans, the Brahmaloka appears very attractive to the devotees, with Brahma and Goddess Saraswati sitting on Pushpa Asan. With Saptarishis, Manasaputras of Brahmaji, Nava Brahmas, Ashta Vasus, Nava Prajapatis, Muni Narad and Muni Tumbur and Sanak, Sanandadi divine sages, this Brahmaloka is marvelous.
In Vishnuloka, the devotees can see Jaya and Vijaya guarding the doors, Lord Vishnu sleeping in Seshnag amid the milky ocean within the seven sacred doors, Goddess Lakshmi doing paricharya, Lord Brahma, Garutman, Hanuman and Vishwaksen standing obediently.
The Sivaloka has been created on a silver mount with the divine couple Siva-Parvathi, Ganesh, Karthikeya, Veerbhadra, Bhadrakali, Bhrungeswar, Nandiswar and Kalabhairava with their vehicles in an attractive way.
The Nagloka, having scenes of Nagaraj, Nagrani and princess, Bhima tied up by the serpent soldiers, make the devotees feel as if they are in real Nagloka. Even the Indraloka has been prepared with attractive images of Lord Indra, Sachi Devi, Ashta Dikpalas, Guru Brihaspati, Sage Narad, dancing scenes of divine damsels Rambha, Urvasi, Menaka and Tilottama.
Yamloka is magnificent with the figures of Yamaraj and Chitragupts.
At Narakloka, the terrifying scenes of bloody river Vaitarini, Kinkaras punishing the wicked are installed. The scene of Asur Mahiravan preparing Lord Rama and Lakshmana for human sacrifice before terrifying Patal Bhairavi evokes real emotions.