Corporation Museum Udupi: Of Stamps and Coins!!

It was a sultry evening in Udupi today and I was dreading to come back to college after a nice evening snack of “goli bajji and authentic South Indian coffee” at Mitra Samaj. I had been there with a friend, to accompany a guest faculty who had come to the college to give a lecture on “Managerial Excellence through Indian Ethos”.

Walking through the by lanes of Udupi I was wondering about the juxtaposition of old ornamental buildings with the tall steel and glass structures. It’s an old town but it seems like it’s growing all the time! As I was reading the billboards of every shop as is my habit, and window shopping I ended up at the Corporation Bank Museum. The last time I passed the building I noticed the museum board but as it was closed I never got a chance to walk in. But today the place was open and I just walked in with my friend.

The portrait of Haji Abdullah, the founder of Corporation Bank.

The first impression of the building is of a beautifully well maintained house, with neatly painted walls and clean surroundings. As we walked in the watchman asked us to keep our footwear outside in a rack and we walked in. I was stunned by the interior of the house, it was filled with coins and the interiors were so well done! Muted yellow lighting, appropriately focused on the exhibits and dark wood furnishings made you feel welcome into the museum. An old man walked in right after us, he seemed to be about 60 years old, a bespectacled, unassuming man. He started telling us about the different coins and the history behind them. Actually, you don’t really need the guided tour because every exhibit has notes and all the information required to appreciate them.

The coin exhibition

As we passed from one exhibit to the other we realised the passion with which this man was explaining things to us. He told us how the museum is open to public everyday from 10 to 5 PM, and it was already 5.45 PM, but not once did he rush us or tell us to leave! He kept regaling us with stories and kept referring to the collection as “I bought it”, which prompted me to to ask him how long he had worked here. And he tells me 52 years!!! Figure it!! So he explained saying he started collecting coins at the age of 12 and since then this has been his passion! He collects a lot of thematic stamps as well and has a huge collection based on animals, events, people and sports.

Mr. M.K.Krishnayya with his bicycle stamp collection

This person was Mr. M.K.Krishnayya, who is also the President of the Dakshina Kannada Philatelic & Numismatic Association. It was so amazing to see his passion about this field, and with the ability he spoke. I hope everyone who lives in and around Udupi gets a chance to go see this place and meet this man, and numismatics and philatelics definitely need to!!

One chance encounter and we met this amazing man. It was enough to infect me with an enthusiasm to finally get down to writing, one of my hobbies and I have begun with writing about him! Let’s see how far this goes 🙂 I guess I just have to keep meeting awesome people…

About the Author: Shilpa Kulkarni is a student at the T.A. Pai Management Institute in Manipal. This article was published as a note on her Facebook wall.

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