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Ooty: Poor man's Madame Tussads faces closure
June 07, 2008 13:41 IST
It has been the poor man's Madame Tussads for years but the private wax museum, a star tourist puller in the hill resort town of Udhagamandalam (Ooty), is on the verge of 'melting down' following lack of patronage and 'indifferent' attitude of local authorities.
Housed at a 130-year old bungalow in Udhagamandalam, about 90 km from here, the museum, which displays 20 life-size look-alike wax statues of famous people such as Mahatma Gandhi [Images] and Subhash Chandra Bose, has been hit by lower number of visitors, says an official of the museum.
The museum used to attract a large number of tourists thronging the 'Queen of Hill Stations,' particularly during the summer season.
However, of late pulling down of signboards and advertisement boards by the authorities, had handicapped the owners in attracting the tourists to the museum, located 1 km away from the main road, its manager Jerald John said.
Besides, poor condition of roads leading to the museum and 'non-cooperation' from the local authorities, added to the woes of the Bangalore-based promoter of the museum, John said.
Though the museum made good collection during the last season, lack of proper advertisements had pulled down the business by nearly 70 to 75 per cent this season, he said.
"We distribute handbills to the tourists by engaging youths on daily-wage basis. However, the boys, would just hand over the pamphlets to the prospective tourist. They cannot bring them to the museum."
The Ooty-Coonoor road had also been made one-way, restricting tourist movement, John said.
"If the situation remains the same, the museum, only one of its kind in this region, would have to be closed permanently," he said.
A museum with high cost of maintenance cannot survive with an entry fee of Rs.20 that too with a low patronage, he said.
The museum concept was initiated by Shreeji Bhaskaran, a businessman and an engineer in Information Technology.
The wax statue making involved computerised digital imaging technique, traditional and conventional sculpting and moulding methodologies.
Giving an insight into the financials, John said the cost of making a wax statue varied between Rs 3 lakh to Rs 15 lakh depending upon the complexity. About 50 kg of wax was used for a statue. The time involved in making a statue was usually between four 16 weeks.
Apart from the statues of Gandhiji, Mother Teresa, Bhaskaran had brought to life the leading figures of Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh [Images], former president, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam.
Bhaskaran is known for making the wax statue of 'The Last Supper' (22 feet long, with 500 kg of wax) which is kept for public viewing at the art gallery of SE Cathedral in Old Goa [Images].