Birth of Gandhi Museum

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Birth of Gandhi Museum
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Gandhiji's Madurai Visit

The beautiful building in which the Gandhi Museum is now located has an historical background. The building was known as ' Tamukkam Bungalow ' among the local people. The term ' Tamakkumu' or ' Tamagamu' is a telugu word meaning a 'summer house' or a building having a high roof supported by pillars without walls. The drawing room of the Tamukkam Bungalow which is constructed on the top of a square mound of earth about 5 metres high with a masonry dome of about 7 metres diameter was a great bulding. It is accepted as a building probably constructed by the Nayak Queen Rani Mangammal, as evidenced by a letter written to her in 1700AD.

Soon after the assassination of the " Father of the Nation"  Mahatma Gandhi in  the year 1948, an appeal was issued to the public to raise funds to erect suitable memorial to Gandhi. The rich and poor viewed with each other in contributing their mite and this made Gandhi Memorial Trust, New Delhi came into being.   

The Gandhi Memorial Trust has allocated Ten Millions Rupees for the purpose of setting up Gandhi Memorial Museum in selected seven places in India associated with the life of Gandhi.  

The Gandhi Memorial Museum at Madurai has been built and organised by Gandhi Smarak Nidhi. There are ample places in South India which are important in relation to Gandhiji. Since, he has visited Tamil Nadu 14 times, among all of them  Madurai city got its distinct place of its own.  It was in Madurai in the year 1921, Gandhiji adopted for the first time the line cloth as his mode of dress, which made him known throughout the world as "The Half  Naked Fakir".  It was in Madurai again that the doors of great Meenakshi Amman Temple were thrown open  to  Harijans, thus winning a historic battle against "Untouchability".  Gandhiji visited the Temple in the year 1946 along with Harijans as a triumph for the cause of Harijan Temple entry.   

The building that houses of the Gandhi Memorial Museum, Madurai is the  historic Tamukkam Palace of Rani Mangammal of Nayak dynasty built about 1670 A.D.  Later, this was made under the occupation of the Nawab of Carnatic, the East India Company and a few others.  Finally, the palace had remained for many years as the official residence of the District Collector of Madurai.  It was in the year 1955 that the palace with about 13 acres of land was gifted by the Tamilnadu state Government, to the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi for the purpose  of housing Gandhi Memorial Museum.  Besides major renovation to the original  building, a complete new wing was constructed for the library as also several other buildings and an open air theatre.