“A Memorial Built in Tribute For Unconditional Love…”
Presence of a woman has such a strong impact on everyone’s life. This world would have not been possible without them. Each woman that is born has inherited the woman traits in herself. The special feelings of care, affection and endless love. God created woman as a symbol of utmost affection. She not only leads the perfect life for herself. But also lays down the strongest base for others dreams as well. Women have strived through putting in a strong image for themselves throughout the past decades. Woman have been like water easy to fit in every role that they are offered to. Personal or Professional, Big or Small, Entrepreneurs or Employees each role has witnessed the perfect blend of women combination. Women power is incredible and cannot be expressed in a few words.
This week I am taking you through my town, the Venice of the East once again. It’s a place with a picturesque landscape. The canals, beaches, backwaters, and houseboats attract thousands of tourists from within the country and from all around the world. There is another important landmark that has been attracting tourists worldwide. It’s none other than the “Revi Karuna Karan Memorial Museum-The RKK Museum.” There is a beautiful story behind this memorial, I would like to give an insight into this love story. Its all about the Lady Betty and her unconditional love for her husband.
Late Revi Karuna Karan was born in Alleppey on November 22nd, 1931. His grandfather Krishnan Muthalaly was the first Indian to start a loom factory to export coir products. His father Late K.C.Karuna Karan graduated from the Birmingham University UK. And after his Masters from Heidelberg University, Germany married Margaret from Berlin. Revi Karuna Karan too did his schooling from the age of 10 at Surrey UK did his high schooling in Switzerland and Graduated in Business Administration from Babson University MA USA. He took over the reins of the companies at the very young age of 20 after his father’s demise in 1952. He became the leading coir exporter. He was the former director of the Industrial Development Bank of India(IDBI). He was the chairman and Managing Director of the Karan Group Of Companies. He will be remembered for his passion. And for his significant contributions towards the modernization of the coir industry. He was a polyglot and was fluent in many languages. He married Betty in 1957 and was blessed with a daughter Lulu.
When we talk about this magnificent memorial. I must introduce you to Mrs.Betty Karan a fascinating personality and a Business tycoon of our town. She is a person full of passion for life. She built this wonderful Museum in dedication to her beloved husband. And whenever she speaks about it we can see the sparkle in her eyes. She was born to Late N Sreenivasan who was a District judge and later an Excise Minister and Late K.C Saraswathi a homemaker. She took her graduation from Queen Mary’s College Madras. She is also the Chairperson of the Karan Group of Companies and the Managing Trustee of Karuna Karan Charitable Trust Alleppey.
From a very young age, she was fond of collecting priceless pieces. Her one precious piece is a vase that she had bought in her teens. She still does cherishes the first piece. She was married into the Karuna Karan family who was avid collectors of wonderful artifacts for over three generations. She is a great admirer of art and artifacts And has an excellent collection of rare and wonderful artifacts. The collection which was maintained in the private domain was opened to the public by her after her husband’s demise. She built a museum – Revi Karuna Karan Memorial Museum – in memory of her husband. She and her daughter Lulu dedicated the museum to the public in ever loving memory of a most beloved husband and loving father. This Dream took three years to become a reality.
The Rkk Museum is an Architect Marvel, built in Greek Architectural Style. It was inaugurated by the former Meghalaya Governor Late M.MJacob in 2006.
The Museum had three phases of inaugurations. During the second phase, the Prodigal son a life-size bronze statue by the renowned Israeli sculptor Sam Philipe was unveiled in 2012.
The third phase was inaugurated in 2015 by the former Srilankan President Her Excellency Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.
The Museum showcases the magnificent collections of porcelain, jade, ivory, antique furniture, exclusive paintings, glassware crystals etc. The museum has the largest collections of Swarovski in the world other than the Wattens, the home of Swarovski. The amazing collection of cut crystal is breathtaking. It has several rare items in it. And the craftsmanship luster and beauty of the statuettes is an incredible sight for anyone who loves fantasy.
The ivory collection in the museum is also one of the largest private collections by a family in the world. The beautiful intricate ivory carvings are unique in its own way. They mesmerize you with its detail carving. The beautiful porcelain artifacts displayed at the RKK Museum are collected from the world-famous porcelain masters.
Among these beautiful collections, a room has been completely transformed into a grand ancestral house of the Kerala architectural heritage. It does take you back to the yesteryears of the rich culture and splendor of the Malayalee.
Late Revi Karuna Karan joined Rotary when he was 20. He became the youngest Rotary President in the world at the age of 24. Later he also became the Rotary Governor at a young age. He was a philanthropist who used to contribute for worthy causes. Mrs. Betty Karan is the Charter member of the Inner Wheel Club of Alleppey and has served as the President of the club for three years. She is still very active in the activities of Inner Wheel and is the patron of the club for the past several years. She was involved with the activities of Rotary along with PDG Late Revi Karuna Karan. In recognition of her services and support, she was made the Honorary member of the Rotary Club of Alleppey. She and her late husband had contributed generous amounts to the Rotary Foundation. She still contributes to various worthy causes including the Rotary Foundation where she is a member of the Arch Klumph Society. She actively participates in all club activities. And regularly attends Rotary International Conventions and Rotary Institutes all over the world since 1977.
She traveled along with her Husband during his business and other tours. She has traveled all along the globe and is still continuing to. She travels to all parts of the world on both business purposes and for seeing new places and interacting with new cultures. If I am not mistaken, she must be the most traveled woman form our little state. She has kept on adding to her collection on almost every trip she made. She has made hundreds of friends during those travels, with whom she is in constant touch. And many of them have visited India and enjoyed her hospitality. Her love for nature is reflected in her garden which is full of exotic plants from all over the world. She is a prolific writer and a voracious reader.
The museum is open on all days except Mondays and National Holidays from 9 am to 5 pm. The visit to the Revi Karuna Karan Memorial Museum is a visual treat to everyone who visits the Venice Of the East. It’s an abode of breathtaking artworks. One gets an opportunity to see an impressive collection of artwork from all around the world in our little town. And one can take back fond memories of the different traditions of art and culture.