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A Corporate Museum Extraordinaire

Tuesday, January 30, 2018, 10:54 Hrs  [IST]

While there are many untold rags to riches and awe-inspiring stories behind the journey of many business houses, very few attempt to document it with a dedication and passion it demands. Indian business conglomerate, Dharampal Satyapal Group, known with the acronym DS Group, attempted a rare feat by creating a 10,000 sq ft of state-of-the-art museum within their equally modern corporate headquarters complex at Sector 67 Noida in Delhi NCR, showcasing the group’s nearly nine-decade old legacy. Aptly named as ‘The Journey’, the private museum etches every milestone in the Journey of the group from a small fragrance shop in Chandni Chowk to a large business house with interests in a range of businesses starting from Tobacco to Spices and Beverages, Confectionary to Dairy, and Hospitality, Packaging to Agro forestry, etc. P Krishna Kumar reports after a visit to the museum. Hospitality Biz - January 2018 50

The Journey’ is a unique corporate museum not just because of its elaborate detailing using the latest technology of almost nine decades long history and legacy of the group, but for the sheer passion of the present generation of the family in encapsulating it for posterity that too without caring for any return on investment. At a time when corporates look for RoI in every activity they indulge in or invest in, DS Group has invested in ‘The Journey’ without caring for RoI. It’s purely a private museum where tours are only by invitation or for special guests.

A brainchild of Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman of the Group, the museum has magnificently captured the evolution of the family business from a small fragrance shop in Chandni Chowk in 1929 by its founder Dharampal ji, to a fledgling business conglomerate today, using latest techniques of theatre, film, sound, projections, etc. The 45-minute long tour of the museum transports in a well-choreographed order through the three zones that largely sums up ‘the Journey’ of the DS Group.

Considering the base of the group is in fragrance and then evolved into flavours, the journey begins with a walk through Forest Area where the magical fragrance of Indian herbs like Sandal, Gulab, Motia, Kewda, Khus, Pachauli, etc. are introduced to the visitors with detailing of their unique characteristics.

The next area is a re-creation of Satyapalji’s lab, where he used to make formulations of fragrances, and his office. His office has been recreated with all original artefacts. The old-style beakers, vessels, weighing machine, metallic boxes, used in the lab will transport one to an era where human intelligence was the differentiator in formulations.

The most inspiring part of the museum tour lies in Zone 1 where the story of the patriarch of the group unfolds in one of the shops in the main thoroughfare of old Chandni Chowk. The designers of the museum have used all the props, life-size mannequins, lights, setting, etc. to create a real-life experience of the Old Chandni Chowk thoroughfare and the life around it for visitors.

The story of the trials and tribulations that the founder went through in the initial years, and how he withstood those challenges to make a living initially and then to expand and diversify can motivate any fickle hearted NewGen entrepreneur.

Zone 2 celebrates the dynamic spirit and growth of the group. The cyclorama arena with its 360 degrees projections takes the immersive experience to a different level as the visitors stand in the middle of a circular room embedded within a visual carousal. A kinetic floor makes this a multi-dimensional experience.

In Zone 3, the concluding section, ‘The Journey’ culminates with a walk through all the iconic brands that are helmed under the DS Group’s umbrella. A modern streetscape is created in this zone, with the geometric display of these glass cases, giving a futuristic appeal.

“Our Corporate Museum is the brainchild of Rajiv Kumar, our Vice Chairman. It is a tribute to the Founding Fathers of the Group and their fascinating Journey of unwavering principles and unmatched business acumen, their extraordinary vision and enduring ability to set the group on its way so many years ago. The objective was of showcasing the history of the group for future generations and new employees, as a part of their orientation program. The museum also familiarises business partners, potential associates, students and others with the legacy of the Group and its brands,” said Shashank Surana, VP-New Product Development, DS Group.

From fragrance and flavours, DS Group has evolved and made its mark in many verticals including Hospitality, Dairy, Spices, Food and Beverage, Tobacco, Confectionary, Mouth Fresheners, etc. The Group owns and operates upscale and upper upscale hotels like The Manu Maharani Dehradun, Radisson Blu Guwahati, Crowne Plaza Hotel Jaipur, Namah, Jim Corbett, etc. Its ‘Catch’ range of spices and beverages are known for quality and consistency in both retail and institutional market.

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