Mumbai gets hot, and on top of an already hectic life, the heat makes it hard to be productive At such times, my mind starts to fantasize about an easy day trip from the city, and I found just the one: Mandwa and the Karmarkar Museum of Sculpture.
A Quick Escape
On a weekday at 10 a.m. I decided to put my car onto the Roll-on Roll-off Ferry (Ro-Ro) and reached Mandwa in an hour. Once aboard, I pulled out my binoculars so I could scan the sea and skyline around me. On one side was the fading Mumbai, the other sides were mountains, merchant navy ships, mini-islands, motor boats commuting around, and far away were the seagulls. The sky was cloudy, and it was slightly drizzling, which was such a pleasant surprise. It seemed that even the sun needed a break from beating down on Mumbai that day.
Mandwa is a coastal village that is just nine nautical miles away from Mumbai, which is a mere 16 odd kilometers. Since there is no direct roadway to get there, one would have to travel close to 113 kilometres and consume 4 hours, but the Roll-on Roll-off ferry service to Mandwa from Mumbai makes it quick and easy, and I arrived in just an hour.
Mandwa and the Museum
When I got off at Mandwa jetty I was ready for a silent walk on a non-crowded sandy beach and a visit to the museum—my only plans for the day. Since I had my own car too, I could get around Mandwa hassle free.
The Karmarkar Sculpture Museum is located in Sasavne village, which is just a 7-10 minute drive from the ferry landing. The museum is a heritage property that is the ancestral home of the late sculptor Shri. V.P. Karmarkar. The small museum is in his converted house and since it was a Thursday, there were no visitors and I rang the bell of the main door.The caretaker of the property opened the door and invited me in. As I climbed the stairs, I could sense that I was entering a time machine that was about to take me back to the era of Mr. Karmarkar, who lived and worked between 1891 and 1967. The museum is home to more than 150 intricately carved sculptures that at times appeared so lifelike I felt, at times, these idols might get up and start talking to me. That would have been a much different story!
About the Artist
Karmarkar was born in 1891 in Sasavne village near Alibag (Raigad, India). His sculpting talent was noticed by Mr. Otto Rothfeild, the then-British District Collector of the region. The Collector enrolled him in the Sir J.J School of Art (Mumbai) for gaining technical expertise in the art of Sculpting. Thereafter Mr. Karmarkar also learned at an art school in Kolkata after which he came to Mumbai and set up his sculpting studio at Tardeo. His realistic style idols, statues, and sculptures, particularly the full-size Shivaji Maharaj statue riding a horse at NDA, Pune premise, have been acknowledged worldwide.
As I read about Mr. Karmarkar’s art credits, it was a proud moment to know that an Indian artist was so well-known in Europe for his magical abilities to put life into inanimate objects.
A Revitalized Return to the City
After visiting the museum, I strolled the vicinity of the heritage building. The nature around me calmed my nerves, like a mother rocking an infant in her arms. All the fatigue and abrasions that the heavy-duty urban life had inflicted on me vanished away on the beach in Mandwa and at the Karmarkar Museum. It’s amazing what a quick getaway can do to lift your spirits.
BeSeeingYou In: Mumbai
Good to know: Mandwa was the setting of a popular movie – the hit Bollywood film Agneepath
WOW! Factor: The amazing sunrises and sunsets from Mandwa Beach
Tip: The ferry can take up to 500 passengers and 154 vehicles and