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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Mahant Ghasidas Memorial Museum: Mirror of Tribal Culture

Located in the heart of the city, Mahant Ghasidas Memorial Museum is a major cultural and educational center of public interest

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Suman Bajpai
Suman Bajpai
Freelance writer, journalist, editor, translator and travel writer, Worked with different magazines as an editor. Writing for past 33 years

CHHATISGARH. Raipur: Raipur, the capital city of Chhattisgarh, has immense cultural and historical significance and offers a glimpse of different cultures and heritage. Of these, the Mahant Ghasidas Memorial Museum is a shining example. Located in the heart of the city, Mahant Ghasidas Memorial Museum is a major cultural and educational center of public interest.

Excavated from Sirpur. Photo Credit: Suman Bajpai

In the year 1875, a wave of awareness was blowing regarding the preservation of Archaeological heritage. As a result of that the King of Rajnandgaon, Mahant Ghasidas established a museum in a historical octagonal building that is inspired by British architectural style. Later due to scarcity of space and an increasing number of art objects after 1945 special efforts were made to preserve and develop this museum. Adopting the tradition of its ancestors, Rani Jyoti Devi of Rajnandgaon and her son Raja Digvijay Das paid Rs 1 lakh ($1,326) to build a new museum building.  It was constructed in 1953 and was inaugurated by India’s first President Dr. Rajendra Prasad.

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Multi-faceted museum

The Mahant Ghasidas Memorial museum comprises five galleries and features different sections like archaeology, anthropology, and natural history. Museum also houses a library, where one can find a collection of records of the city’s history. In this multi-faceted museum, there are various types of materials related to tribal culture, spiced animal birds, and craft works of the modern period, besides prehistoric stone tools, ancient statues, records, copper plates, and coins received from Chhattisgarh and other areas. On the first floor, there is a nature gallery, arms gallery, painting gallery, and tribal culture gallery in the second floor.

Dholkal Ganesh, 12th century A.D. Photo Credit: Suman Bajpai
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Statues of the past era

The museum houses various statues of stone statues, metal statues, copper sheets, records, coins, and modern periods. The sculptural gallery located here showcases sculptures found from different parts of Chhattisgarh.

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“These Masterpieces are of various periods. The structures of ‘Ardhanarishwar’ and Bharavahaka’ are unique with regard to the Indian art forms. Different postures of Shiva and the beautifully decorated gate of Shiva temple in the Dhmtari also add to the rare collection of this museum,” told Director, Culture and archaeology, Govt of Chhattisgarh, Shri Vivek Acharya.

Director, culture and archaeology, Govt of Chhattisgarh, Shri Vivek Acharya. Photo Credit: Suman Bajpai

Excavated artifacts gallery demonstrates how archaeologists have to meticulously expose buried sites and reconstruct the story/ history of cultural progression by delineating the sequence of various starts as exposing objects of utility and daily use of particular period.

Excavated artifacts

A variety of Terracotta art objects and structures can also be seen in the museum. Different types of earthen lamps other than toys and pots recovered from the excavation at Sidhpur have been displayed here.

A variety of coins from ancient times to the modern era has been collected here. These coins represent different Indian dynasties. The medals and plaques of the British released on various occasions have been also collected here.

Natural history gallery is contemporary small; however, it is more popular than other galleries for educating the public with intriguing details and diversified subjects.

Also Read: Dwarka: A City That Echoes The Tales of Past

The tribal gallery is the most interesting gallery as the lifestyle, attires, ornaments and other commodities of daily use belonging to the different tribes have been displayed in the gallery in separate showcases. Weapons gallery has a display of a fine collection of various weapons which are collected from various parts of the region.

The Museum is also proud of its rich library which is named Mahant Sarveshwardass Granthalaya.

The museum can easily take up two to three hours, so if you are visiting Raipur, take time off and go see this museum and its incredible artifacts!

Weapons. Photo Credit: Suman Bajpai

Author

  • Suman Bajpai

    Freelance writer, journalist, editor, translator and travel writer, Worked with different magazines as an editor. Writing for past 33 years

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