On most days, there is a serpentine queue outside the Manipal Museum of Anatomy and Pathology, or MAP, a sprawling building diagonally opposite the main education building.
Apart from college and school students, some from as far away as Mysore and Mumbai, there is a usually scattering of medical professionals and tourists from around the world, jostling to get in.
Billed as one of the largest in Asia, the museum boasts of over 3,000 specimens and samples of things anatomical, including the skulls of an elephant and a whale, and the long skeleton of a King Cobra.
Dr SS Godbole, the first Anatomy Professor of Kasturba Medical College, had a passion for preservation. His techniques of careful dissection, processing and mounting of anatomical specimens are followed even today. It was under his watch that the museum opened its doors to the public in 1954, with over 650 specimens from his own collection.
Revamped and renamed as the Manipal Museum of Anatomy and Pathology in November 2012, the sprawling Anatomy section houses well-preserved specimens of the human body from head to toe, and everything in between. A section on comparative anatomy houses the skeletons of various other animals, and carefully crafted models and charts augment the entire experience.
The Pathology Museum, which displays diseased body parts and organs, has a popular section on life-style related diseases, and their impact on the human body. Work has also begun on a digital or virtual museum.
As Raymond Jack Last, former Anatomical Curator, Royal College of Surgeons, London, and one of the world’s best known anatomists, declared after a visit,"It’s one of the best."
The museum is open from 8 am to 6 pm on all days, except public holidays. While a small fee is charged from the public, it is free for the students and faculty of Manipal Academy of Higher Education.