Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Forest Research Institute museums.

I have lived across the road from the FRI for the last two years, and have never taken the tour. I am so ashamed. Thankfully, I had decided today to clear out my scary 'miscellaneous' drawer, and so it is that I found myself camera in hand walking towards the campus with my Rs2/ fee in my hand.

Once past the gate, the road to the main building is beautiful, shadowed as it is with trees and bordered by utterly charming bungalows. These houses are bright red, have double-height pillars, massive chimneys, large gardens( in every one of which wheat is grown for some reason), and climbable trees. The stuff of dreams..

There are six museums, all located in the main building. To view them, you need to purchase a Rs 15/-ticket, and can choose to be accompanied by a guide for Rs. 50/- more. The ticket counter is located at the rear left corner of the main building.

I assume that most people walk in from Trevor road which leads directly to the left side of the building. Wanting to take a photo of the building, I had crossed over to the old main road that leads to the front, and trudged up that endless and hot road. That route is not bad; it's hot true, but one gets to look at the building. And it is worth looking at.  Clean, clean lines, enough curves to add grace, enough brick to add warmth, it is a truly lovely place to wander.

While not crowded, there were a large number of people. The place had its fair share of children who were largely well-behaved though a cry I heard of 'hato, rakshas log! out of the way, demons!' suggested that there were exceptions.

The museums are actually a great thing to do with little ones. Only, if you are going with them, I would suggest skipping the first two (pathology and social forestry), zooming through the third (silviculture) and lingering in the rest. The timber museum is panelled with 126 different varieties of wood, has a 2.8m dia cross-section, and lovely little examples of carved wood that I lusted after. Entomology is satisfying gruesome with its displays of insects and grubs. The butterfly displays will enthrall little ones; while adults can make up stories over names like 'vicarius' and 'hypocrita'. I was astonished by the beauty of some of the wood-boring 'pests'- look for scolytidae whose colony looks like an intricate kolam. The last, non-timber forest products has essential oils and herbs for the adults, and a pair of elephant tusks for the kiddies.

There is quite a bit of walking involved; I would suggest gearing up as for an expedition. Carry a water bottle, you can refill it at the cooler near the timber museum. They are mercifully, open on weekends and public holidays, from 9:30 to 17:30 with a lunch break from 13:00 to 14:00. Carry a picnic lunch and eat it under the trees with squirrels for company.

1 comment:

nadi said...

want to visit this place
and the home across the road