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Remembrance of Dinkar Kelkar, Founder, Raja Kelkar Museum

In the heart of Pune, a city bustling with history and culture, stands a testament to one man’s passion for collecting and preserving the heritage of India. This is the Raja Kelkar Museum, a place where artifacts whisper tales of bygone eras. The museum owes its existence to Dr. Dinkar G. Kelkar (1896–1990), a man whose life journey is as fascinating as the collection he amassed.

As we mark his Punyatithi on March 10th, let’s delve into the life of Dinkar Kelkar, exploring his early years, what propelled him into prominence, his societal contributions, and how his legacy continues to inspire.

Early Life and Inspiration

Born in 1896 in Maharashtra, Dinkar Kelkar was introduced to the world of art and culture at an early age. His mother played a pivotal role in nurturing his appreciation for traditional Indian arts and crafts. However, it wasn’t until a personal tragedy struck— the loss of his son—that Kelkar found solace and purpose in collecting artifacts. This marked the beginning of what would become a lifelong quest to preserve India’s rich cultural heritage.

A Journey into Collecting

What started as a hobby soon transformed into an obsession for Kelkar. He traveled extensively across India, often venturing into remote villages to uncover hidden treasures. From intricately carved door frames and pottery to musical instruments and ancient manuscripts, no object was too mundane or too grand for his collection. His efforts were not just about amassing items; they were about preserving stories and traditions that were at risk of being forgotten.

The Establishment of Raja Kelkar Museum

Kelkar’s vast collection needed a home—a place where it could be appreciated by others. In 1962, with support from friends and well-wishers, he established the Raja Kelkar Museum in Pune. Named after his late son Raja, the museum started with around 15,000 objects curated by Kelkar himself. Today, it houses over 20,000 artifacts spanning various periods of Indian history.

Contributions to Society and Legacy

Dinkar Kelkar’s contributions go beyond establishing a museum. He played an instrumental role in promoting Indian culture not just within the country but also internationally through exhibitions and lectures. His work has inspired generations to appreciate and preserve their heritage.

Kelkar’s dedication earned him numerous accolades during his lifetime including recognition from institutions both in India and abroad.

He passed away on March 10th but left behind a legacy that continues to educate and inspire. The museum not only serves as a repository of artifacts but also engages in educational activities promoting traditional Indian crafts among younger generations.


Dinkar G. Kelkar’s life reminds us that passion combined with perseverance can create lasting legacies that benefit society long after we are gone. As we remember him on his Punyatithi, let us take inspiration from his dedication towards preserving our cultural heritage for future generations to cherish.