Friday, June 18, 2010

Journey into outer space awaits Commonwealth Games visitors

Evening sky watch, live shows, movies on India's contribution to astronomy...Nehru Planetarium in the capital is gearing up to take Commonwealth Games tourists on a journey into outer space.

The planetarium, housed in the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) at Teen Murti Road, has been closed since April for a period of six months to carry out renovation work. The renovated venue will be inaugurated Oct 1, two days before the mega sporting event from Oct 3-14 that is expected to draw thousands of international tourists.

"We have received Rs.11 crore from the ministry of culture for renovation work. The planetarium will adorn a new look and infrastructure and equipment will be at par with other planetaria in the world," Chandni Luthra, director of modernisation projects at NMML, told IANS.

The planetarium will have all new electrical equipment, new chairs in the auditorium, new dome, new air conditioning and exhibits outside the planetarium.

The NMML has tied up with the National Council for Science Museums, which manages major science centres across India, including the Delhi Science Centre, for carrying out the upgradation work.

To attract a large number of tourists, the museum and planetarium will remain open every day till eight in the evening during the Games.

Four new shows -  "Awesome Light", "Dawn of Space Age", "Ultimate Universe", and "Chandra - A Stellar Life on the life of Noble laureate Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar"  - will be run during the event.

Visitors can also try their hands at some simple quantitative observations of celestial phenomena at the Planetarium as live shows on topics like night, day and seasons, solar system, comets, eclipses, gravitation, sunspots, moon and the universe will be conducted.

"NMML is also in the list of the guided tour of historical and significant places of Delhi which will be organised by the Delhi government for visitors during the Games," Luthra said.

The museum is also trying to get Rakesh Sharma, who was the first Indian in space, to interact with a select group in the first week of October.

A photo exhibition titled 'Nehru And The Making Of Modern India'  will be held in the museum premises.

"A 10-day film festival featuring noted filmmaker Shyam Benegal's film on (Jawaharlal) Nehru like 'Discovery of India' and other films on personalities of modern India will be showcased. Besides, the screening of plays on India's freedom struggle and architects of the nation will be held," Luthra said.

For adventure seekers, the museum will organise nature walks and bird watching tours in the Teen Murti House Gardens.

"One can enjoy sightings of around 100 different species of birds during that period. A cycle tour from Teen Murti to Gyarah Murti to Tees January Marg and heritage walks to monuments of Delhi are also being planned," she said.

Apart from this, the signages will be replaced and re-arranged to make them more informative and inviting, especially for those who are physically handicapped and aged.

A souvenir shop is also going to come up in the premises. Visitors can buy postcards, posters, key chains and a book on famous speeches.

The NMML was established in memory of the country's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, after his death in 1964. It was his official residence. It  has four major constituents - a memorial museum, a library on modern India,a centre for contemporary studies and a planetarium.

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