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New sand art museum opens in Sindhudurg (Maharashtra)

 

At the Vijayshree Sand Art Museum near Vengurla Beach in Sindhudurg, an array of artworks including idols of Shiva, Ganapati, Jesus, Shivaji Maharaj, and more are on display. This museum, specialising in sand art, is a unique addition to the region, previously only found in Odisha and Mysore. Its presence in Sindhudurg adds another dimension to the local tourist attractions.

Raviraj Chipkar, the artist behind the museum, explains his motivation: “The tourism in the Konkan belt is burgeoning, so I wanted to enhance the experience by offering something distinctive. People here, both residents and visitors, are deeply devout. Therefore, I decided to create idols representing various revered figures. I have also crafted an idol of Vishnu Sakharam Khandekar, a beloved writer in this part of Maharashtra.”

The museum was inaugurated on February 25 and will remain open until May. Chipkar plans to create new idols and reopen the museum in November, acknowledging the need to close temporarily during the rainy season.

Visitors to the sand museum, predominantly from Pune, Mumbai, and foreign countries, are amazed by the durability of the sand idols. Chipkar remarks on the challenges, “It requires immense patience. I carefully select the type of sand suitable for my artwork to ensure its longevity. Often, my work collapses during the creation process, so it’s not without its difficulties.”

Living merely a kilometer from the beach, Chipkar is one of the few artists who pursue sand art professionally. Aside from the museum, he pays homage to notable figures through his sand sculptures. He recalls creating an idol in tribute to Lata Mangeshkar within hours of her passing.

Chipkar’s journey as a sand artist began in 2011 when, at the age of 23, he participated in a beach festival in Konkan. Inspired by artist Sudarshan Patnaik, he ventured into professional sand artistry and has since been invited to showcase his work at various venues.

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