Marwar - - Contents -

Mar­wari wed­dings are surely go­ing places with ex­otic lo­cales, themed cer­e­monies and un­usual en­ter­tain­ment op­tions fea­tur­ing on al­most ev­ery other cou­ple’s wish list.

Mak­ing a dif­fer­ence

While the wax fig­ures are the high­light of this mu­seum, painstak­ing ef­forts have also gone into creat­ing a unique set­ting for each fig­ure. For ex­am­ple, vis­i­tors will see the read­ing area of Rash­tra­p­ati Bha­van next to Kalam’s fig­ure. Sim­i­larly, an elab­o­rate space­ship has been set up for Chawla and the Dandi March has been recre­ated for Ma­hatma Gandhi. Shan­tinike­tan, on the other hand, pro­vides the back­drop for Tagore.

More­over, the legacy of Jaipur’s royal fam­ily resonates through­out the mu­seum. “Our mu­seum has stat­ues of Jaipur’s roy­als in­clud­ing HH late Ra­j­mata Gay­a­tri Devi and late Sawai Jai Singh II (the former Ma­haraja of Jaipur),” he says. All the wax fig­ures are placed in the ‘Hall of Icons’ sec­tion and ‘Royal Dar­bar’ sec­tion of the fort.

Yet the most strik­ing part that sets the Jaipur Wax Mu­seum apart from the other wax mu­se­ums is the Sheesh Ma­hal, which lit­er­ally trans­lates to “Palace of Mir­rors”. This re­vamped sec­tion of the fort fea­tures 2.5 mil­lion glass pieces. Pure gold and gem­stones have also been used to recre­ate the breath­tak­ing struc­ture. Stud­ded with high­qual­ity in­lay mir­rors, the palace repli­cates the op­u­lence of the royal court from the time when the Ra­jput dy­nasty ruled over these lands.

There are chal­lenges though, the big­gest be­ing the main­te­nance of the fig­ures. While Chawla’s space­suit or Dhoni’s gloves may not have to be washed ev­ery other day to rid them of grime, the wax medium comes with its own short­com­ings. The fig­ures re­quire a dust-free en­vi­ron­ment and need to be kept in a con­stant room tem­per­a­ture. They also need to be pro­tected from the ele­ments. This can be a big con­cern in Jaipur, es­pe­cially dur­ing the sum­mer months when the tem­per­a­ture shoots up to 50-de­gree Cel­sius and sand­storms are a reg­u­lar fea­ture. So to keep the tem­per­a­ture un­der con­trol, the cu­ra­tors have in­stalled an air cool­ing sys­tem of 65 tonnes in­side the mu­seum.

Back in time

Sri­vas­tava, 46, hails from Jaipur. He moved to Mum­bai af­ter grad­u­at­ing in arts. He spent 25 years in the city and worked in the film in­dus­try, hold­ing mul­ti­ple port­fo­lios—me­dia con­sul­tant, dis­trib­u­tor, writer, di­rec­tor and pro­ducer. The Jaipur Wax Mu­seum, his brain­child, is a one-of-its-kind ini­tia­tive in the tourism his­tory of the Pink City. Sri­vas­tava hopes that its unique collection of his­tor­i­cal fig­ures and the royal his­tory on dis­play will boost tourism op­por­tu­ni­ties even fur­ther in the state.

“The op­u­lence and grandeur of the space and the royal am­bi­ence is next to none. This was a dream I had been nur­tur­ing for a long time and it is over­whelm­ing to see it ma­te­ri­alise af­ter a decade,” he says.

Left: The in­te­ri­ors of the Sheesh Ma­hal

Top: A wax statue of Ger­man-born physi­cist Al­bert Ein­stein

Top right: A wax fig­ure of film star Jackie Chan

Top: A wax statue of Ar­gen­tine foot­baller Lionel Messi

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