India Seashell Museum&The man who turned his house into a maritime heritage museum

India Seashell Museum is the largest seashell museum in India and is located at Mahabalipuram, a famous tourist destination of South India, just 60 kms south of Chennai. It houses over 40,000 specimens of rare and unique seashells and Minerals which offers visitors an amazing visual treat and a unique perspective on conchology.

Fees to visit Museum is Rs 100 and that of Aquarium is Rs 50 but you can buy a combo offer which will enable you to visit both. Seashell Museum comprises of four galleries and many seashells in well labelled cabinets. Take your time and it will take you around 1-2 hours to read and watch every type of shell there is.

Raja Mohammad

Raja Mohammad, the founder of the India Sea Shell Museum started collecting shells when he was only a child. Travelling to different countries and collecting seashells from all over the world, the museum is now home to 6,000 different species of seashells.

Essentials. Shells are made of calcium carbonate, in the mineral form of calcite or aragonite. Animals build their shells by extracting the necessary ingredients—dissolved calcium and bicarbonate—from their environment.

The empty shells you find on the beach are often hundreds of years old, maybe even thousands! You can even find fossils dating back more than 100,000 to millions of years ago.
The man who turned his house into a maritime heritage museum

Through years of travel, D Hemachandra Rao has collected enough items to start Chennai’s first Maritime Heritage Museum, right in his house

At the turn of this decade, Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation had plans to make the decommissioned INS Vagli submarine, gifted to the State Government by the Indian Navy, the centrepiece of a maritime heritage museum in Mamallapuram. This dream was never actualised, but in the busy neighbourhood of Virugambakkam, one man took matters in his own hands: D Hemachandra Rao converted his house into Maritime Heritage Museum, replete with brass ship models, dhow models, compasses, anchors, coins with ships engraved on them, and postcards and stamps of India’s lighthouses and canals.

Fondly called the Lighthouse Man, the 80-year-old civil engineer, has been taking road trips for the past decade, first exploring Madras, and then along India’s coastline. His fame among the city’s history buffs led many of them to his house, asking for help with their research.

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