Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History

Sri Sri's Visit - 7th September, 2016

Above: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar looking at "Terror Unleashed, An Exhibition on Kashmir"

Above: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar looking at our exhibition "Aurangzeb, as he was according to Mughal Records" which shows Aurangzeb as a tyrant & monster

Photos / Update - 16th July, 2016

Dear supporters of the Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History,

Thanks to your efforts, work goes on at a renewed pace on site. We are buillding a hall to house our Portuguese Inquisition exhibition, finishing our reception cum sales building and an exhibition hall that will have only TV screens that will play in a loop films, PPT's etc. We have embarked upon an exhibition on Tippu Sultan. We are also harvesting rain water for the dry season and our one million litres pond is full. Meanwhile students come and see our exhibitions and pray at the Bharat Mata Temple.

Francois & Namrita Gautier
Trustees FACT

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's blessing message

In the 17th century, when the oldest and the most tolerant civilization was threatened, a light emerged in Maharashtra in the form of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was the right combination of perfection in politics and the epitome of spiritual values. Tolerance, broad vision, and good governance were his gift to the people of India. Once again today, India is in such a place where it needs leaders like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It needs leaders with commitment to its people and a long term vision for the country. On this occasion, I congratulate Francois and Namrata for rekindling the spirit of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. This museum that Francois has established with so much effort will inspire generations to come. Among the many good works that Francois has to his credit, from showcasing the sacrifice of Sikh Gurus to Ahilyabai's less known adventures and now establishing a museum to commemorate the invaluable contributions of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is indeed a great achievement. May Francois's hard work and sincere efforts be rewarded in the form of good honest citizens and inspire good governance in our country.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama opens Tibetan Pavilion in Museum of Indian History - 28th July, 2013

Above: A group of drummers performing on His Holiness the Dalai Lama's arrival at Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History in Pune, Maharashtra, India

Above: His Holiness the Dalai Lama participating in a fire puja at the Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History in Pune, Maharashtra, India

Above: His Holiness the Dalai Lama touring the new Tibetan Pavilion at the Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History in Pune, Maharashtra, India

Above: His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the inauguration ceremony for the new Tibetan Pavilion at the Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History in Pune, Maharashtra, India

Photos & Captions courtesy

Second building housing Aurangzeb exhibition now open - 12th March, 2013

Second building of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History, Pune, which houses Aurangzeb exhibition is finished (first building houses permanent Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj exhibition). Third building also completed, will house Hindu Tolerance exhibition. We are planning fourth building to house Maharana Pratap exhibition. We have also opened a video room to project all of FACT's films.

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Sri Sri opens first phase of Museum of Indian History - 14th January, 2012

Above: The decorated new temple dedicated to Mata Bhavani

Above: Mata Bhavani endowing Shivaji Maharaj, with the maps of spiritual India in the background

Above: Yagna by H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and the Vedic Pandits in the new Mata Bhavani temple

Above: H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar garlanding the new statue of Mata Bhavani and Shivaji Maharaj

Above: H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar performing Aarti to the new statue of Mata Bhavani and Shivaji Maharaj

Above: H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Mrs Sunetra Pawar (wife of Maharashtra Dy. CM Ajit Pawar), Namrita & François Gautier, trustees of FACT, lighting the candle at the new Shivaji Maharaj Exhibition Hall

Above: H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar & Shri Nitin Gadkari, BJP President, viewing FACT's unique exhibition on the life of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

Above: H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar & Shri Nitin Gadkari, BJP President, inaugurating FACT's new exhibition, 'Hindu Tolerance.. Over The Ages', which tells the story on how Hindus were persecuted in the last 14 centuries, and not only kept their faith, but retained their respect for other religions

Above: H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar & Shri Nitin Gadkari, BJP President, inaugurating another of FACT's exhibitions, which shows scientifically how the famous Aryan invasion that has divided India for centuries, never happened

Above: The program, after the pujas and inaugurations, with Shri Nitin Gadkari's speech

Above: Parts of the 1000 strong crowd, as Mrs Sunetra Pawar delivers her speech in Marathi

Above: H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar enthralls the crowd with his remarks about Indian History and the need of this Museum to make India proud

Above: The crowds, from Pune, Mumbai and local villagers, came out of the program feeling something very special just happened: a Museum of real Indian History, dedicated to one of India's greatest heroes

Mata Bharati & Shivaji statue - August, 2011

Wax details of the Mata Bharati & Shivaji statue just before casting. The statue will be placed at the entrance of the Museum

Mata Bharati Temple, Pune

Namrita & Francois Gautier showing Mata Bharati Temple plans (above) & construction photos (below) to H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Chennai on 29th January, 2011

Ashtavakra comes to the rescue of Shivaji Museum

15th April, 2010

It was one of the hottest days in Pune. The scorching wind blew in our face.

And gray dust too: we had been drilling the whole day for water, near the peepul tree that His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had planted two months earlier during the Bhoomi puja ceremony of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History.

But in vain. The huge mechanized bit dug 20 feet, 50, 100. But it was just hard rock. Slowly, as the diesel engine of the drilling truck deafened us, the stone chips gave way to a grey dust that was penetrating everywhere: our eyes, nostrils, clothes and was even laying a thick film on our beautiful bougainvilleas which we thought would die. 150 feet, 250, 400, 405... At 7.30 pm, as darkness engulfed us, we reconciled ourselves that we will not find water and that the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History would have to be built elsewhere.

Next day, Ashtavakra came. He was a priest from a nearby mandir. A dwarf, with a misshapen body, stunted limbs, and a distorted face, that didn’t even allow him to speak clearly. He was also a water diviner and our last chance. Bare headed in the blistering sun, barefoot on the rocky, thorny earth, he took out a packet from a fold of his dhoti; closed his eyes and let some vhibuti ashes fly in the wind. And then, unhesitatingly, he walked towards the mouth of the well we had dug the day before. Out of the corner of his mouth, he said in Marathi:

- There is water here.
- Impossible, we all replied, not a drop of water came out yesterday and we drilled 405 feet.

Ashtavakra just smiled, picked up a stone and dropped it in the opening of the tube.

We all bent forward and heard the stone drop for a long time. It ricocheted on the walls of the PVC pipe laid by the workers, then bounced off noisily the narrower GI pipes. And after what seemed an eternity, we heard distinctly the splash of the stone hitting a deep source of water. We could not believe our ears and thought our tiredness had deluded us. So again Ashtavakra smilingly picked up a stone and dropped it. And again, after a long, long ricocheting fall we heard, the magic splash, its echo reverberated by 405 feet of narrow acoustic.

Like children, we all laughed and hugged each other. And all of us kept throwing stones in the well and laughed even harder when we heard the splatter of the stones hitting deep water 405 below our feet.

When we were saturated. We turned around to thank Ashtavakra.

But he had gone...

- Francois Gautier

Photos & Update: Museum of Indian History

16th March, 2010

Pune: The planting of bougainvilleas for the natural fencing has progressed well (50%). The plants looked healthy and there is a good diversity of colors. A mud road from the existing tar road has been carved to the top of our land, so that small load carriers can carry up water and material. On top, a strong cement platform has been erected on the rocks, which holds two 4000 litres black Sintex water tanks. By an ingenious drip irrigation system using gravity, every single bougainvillea is watered 24 hours with a maximum efficiency and minimum water wastage. We believe that the Neem trees all along the fences, which are stunted in spite of 15 years life, will also benefit from the water and take off.

Sri Sri blesses Indian History Museum

Above: Sri Sri planting the Peepul tree on the side of the museum on 12th January, 2010, Swami Vivekananda and Jijabai's birthdays. For the first time in the history of modern India, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj will get the recognition he deserves and Indian History will be portrayed as it happened, not as it has been written by mostly British historians

13th January, 2010

Pune: The Bhoomi Puja (foundation stone laying ceremony) of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History was performed on January 12th by His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Wagdaon, Pune. It was a most auspicious day as 12th is not only Swami Vivekananda’s, but also Jijabai, Shivaji’s mother’s birthdays.

We had erected a colourful pandal on top the land and laid down carpets and chairs. As Guruji arrived with a caravan of cars, the Pandits started chanting Vedic hymns. Guruji looked at the three concept panels which the architect had prepared, liked them and remarked that the roundness of the buildings would blend in the hilly terrain. He then proceeded to plan a Peepul, the tree of Knowledge, as indeed this is conceived not only as a museum of history, but also a place where students will come to browse in the libraries and scholars to fine-tune their researches.

Then Sri Sri began the puja. He made Namrita and François Gautier trustees of FACT - India (a new trustee, Mrs Gayatri Chauhan, FACT - India’s representative in Maharashtra for many years, has just been added), sit next to him. It was a moment of strong emotions and one felt that at last Shivaji Maharaj would be properly honored in his own territory and that something momentous was starting. Guruji then performed a small puja on the old stone taken from one of Shivaji’s forts, which will go in the foundation.

As Guruji left for other commitments, the four pandits continued the puja and the Museum’s team, along with a few friends, sat quietly in concentration or meditation.

We now start fencing, tree planting, repair one of the abandoned small houses for a watchman and to store materials. As soon as the architect gives us the first plans, foundation will start, which should be sometimes beginning of March.