THE VOW FACTOR
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