Kozhikode: Bronze medallion of Lenin, priceless paintings of Raja Ravi Varma and expensive walking sticks made of ivory. Some of the exquisite collections that adorn the Krishna Menon Memorial Museum and Art Gallery at East hill in Kozhikode, these are among the rare collections of former diplomat statesman and defence minister of India, V.K. Krishna Menon at the iconic building where collectors of Malabar resided during the British raj. The art gallery, a repository of rare Raja Ravi Varma paintings, was established in 1975 and the Krishna Menon Memorial Museum the next year. Six swords presented to Menon by merchants of Amritsar, the model of a drilling machine and metal model of a M.A.N truck adorn the museum alongside the diplomatic passport of the man considered one of the best dressed diplomats in the United Nations then. And history is etched in a gift presented by the Chinese premier Chou Enlai.
Perhaps, no one would be able to imagine Menon without his classy walking sticks. Visitors can get a feel of the wide range of those sticks which Menon was fond of , some made of ivory and some with Bamboo shoots. Mechanical toys were another pet fixation of Menon, as revealed by his collection. Rare collection of books which the voracious reader left behind for posterity is also on display.
Famous oil colour paintings such as Receding Flood, Monkey at play and portrait of Tagore adorn the the art gallery, apart from a variety of water colour paintings including Ma Nishada by Chirayinkeezhu Sreekandhan Nair. A poignant portrait of Raja Ravi Varma is another must watch here, not to mention a collection of Ravi Varma’s paintings such as Udaipur Durbar, Shiva and Mohini and Rana of Udaipur.
Visitors also relish the visual treat offered by Ajanta mural,Somapalli Mural, Thirunakkara cave paintings, Vaikam temple mural and Harippad temple mural.
For art lovers, there is much more in store including paintings of famous artists like Kanu Desai, Maniklal Sarkar and Devi Prasad Roy Chowdhari. The connoisseurs of art sure will be floored by the vast collection of Mughal, Rajasthani, Chinese and Japanese paintings.