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Art & Culture
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the land of massive forts, sprawling palaces intricately carved temples of
colourful tribes and brave warriors, of unrivalled form of arts and crafts,
unique dance and music traditions ,is changing at a rapid pace. Its vast
network of Museums in large and small towns, archaeological sites and the
recently opened museums and art galleries in the palaces of erstwhile rulers
of old states help to preserve this great heritage for posterity. This small
website provides a short introduction to some of these great treasure houses
of this ancient land.
Government Museum, Ajmer
Situated in the heart of the old city and close to the railway station the
museum is housed in the beautiful fort and palace built by the Mughal
Emperor Akbar in 1570. It was here that the British envoy Sir Thomas Roe met
Emperor Jahangir in 1616.What is today commonly known as Magazine are the
palace quarters where the emperors lived. After British occupation in 1818
and during the first war of Independence in 1857 it was used as the
Rajputana Arsenal by the British which gave the name Magazine. The Museum
was started in 1908 by the Government of India with the object of collecting
and preserving many unique objects of antiquarian interest which were lying
unattended for and scattered all over Rajasthan.
Archaeological Museum, Amer-Jaipur
Located in the Dil-e-Aaram gardens, of Amer, the ancient capital of Jaipur,
established in 1949.Prior to this, the excavated material from Rairh, Bairat,
Sambhar, Nagar, etc. and the sculptures and epigraphs collected from various
sites in the erstwhile Jaipur State were housed at Vidyahar Gardens in
Purana Ghat. In July 1949the entire collection was transfered to Dil-e-Aaram
garden, a part of the old palace at Amer. An Art Gallery was inaugurated in
1992 in this complex.
The museum is divided into three
1) Archaeological section, which contains material
recovered from excavations at Rairh, Bairat, Sambhar Nagar, Pamvar, Bansi
and Virat Nagar.
Museum, Junagarh Fort, Bikaner
Ganga Mahal, the imposing halls added by Maharaja Ganga Singh, now houses
the Fort Museum. It contains a fine collection of antique Rajput weaponry,
jade handle daggers, camel hide dhals (shields) and inlaid handguns and
camel guns. Gold and silver howdahs, jhulas, palkis and a first world war
biplane are on view. Other important objects include a pair of drums
belonging to Jambhoji - the saint who predicted the foundation of the
dynasty by Rao Bika for 450 years. Photographs and items of personal use by
Maharaja Ganga Singh and miniatures are also on view.
Golden Jublee Museum, Bikaner
Established near the Lallgarh Palace in 1937 on the eve of the Golden
Jubilee celebrations of Maharaja Ganga Singh this museum now run by the
Government of Rajasthan, was shifted to a new building in the Civil Lines in
1954.Some principal sections of the museum are.
Ganga Singh Memorial
Terracotta and Bronzes.
Paintings and Folk-Arts.
Tessitori Memorial Section.
of the British Interpretation of the war of Independence 1857
Fateh Prakash Palace Museum, Chittorgarh
Inside the historical Chittorgarh Fort, one big portion of Fateh Prakash
Palace was converted into a museum in the year 1968.
It has a great collection of
sculptures. Among the important ones are Ganpati (8th-9th century)from
Pangarh, Indra and Jain Ambica statues from Rashmi village of the post
The section devoted to weapons,
daggers, armoury consists of old shields, helmets, axes, farsa, knives and
soldier’s uniforms. The clay models of local tribes with their traditional
outfits have also been displayed in a room. The entire palatial museum has
been divided in various sections like Archaeology, Coins, Art Gallery, Wood
Crafts of Bassi village, Weapons and Tribal Life.
Government Central Museum [Albert Hall], Jaipur
Located in the center of the sprawling Ram Niwas Bagh, this is the oldest
Museum in the State. The building was designed by Colonel Sir Swinton Jacob.
It was built in 1876 when King Edward VII visited India as the Prince of
Wales. It was opened to public in 1886.
The various sections represented in the museum are:-
Industry (Metal, Wood and Pottery);
Toys & dolls.
There is a Persian garden
carpet of a fabulous cost obtained by Mirza Raja Jai Singh I from Shah Abbas
of Persia. It contains various sketches of a Persian garden with running
There is also an Egyptian mummy
belonging to the Ptolemaic Epoch. There are miniature paintings of various
sub-schools of Rajasthan. A glimpse of the land and the people of Rajasthan
is presented through well planned dioramas.
From 1959 onwards the various
galleries along the ground floor of the museum were completely reorganized
and renovated. People of Rajasthan,(both males and females) from the higher
strata of society, such as Rajputs and Seths as well as the common tribal
people like Meenas, Bhopas, Bhils, Gadoliya Lohars and omaments. Typical
designs and motifs in Mehndi Mandana, so characteristic of Rajasthani
ladies, are also highlighted in the gallery. In the antechamber of wing is
exhibited puppetry from Rajasthan and the painted scroll delineating the
scenes from Pabuji Rathore's life, a great folk-hero from Marwar.
The central gallery is devoted
to Rajasthani music and dance. Original musical instruments, both classical
and folk, are displayed in their functional positions. Specimens include
typical folk instruments like Masak, Kamayacha, Dadh, Madal, Khanjari,
Sitari, Bankia, Pungi, Algoja, Iktara etc.
Maharaja Sawai Mansingh II Museum, Jaipur
Located within the City Palace complex and nestled amidst old buildings,
temples and the palaces quarters, this museum was founded in 1959 by
Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II. The exhibits consist of the ancestral
collections built up by the successive rulers of Amer and Jaipur, and is
presently run by a public charitable trust. A small selection of paintings,
manuscripts, weapons and armours was displayed in the Pothikhana (library)
and the Silehkhana or armory (both of these in their present form, were
established in 1952) of the palace.
However, the collection
remained exclusive and was shown only to selective visitors and dignitaries
with the special permission of the Maharaja. In 1959,this private museum
consisting of the Pothikhana Silehkhana was thrown open to public and a new
Textile and Costume gallery was added to it.
The Art Gallery is housed in
the Diwan-i-Aam constructed for holding important State functions. A variety
of objects-miniature paintings, illustrated manuscripts, decorated book
covers, palm-leaf and Sanchipat manuscripts, old printed books, gigantic
carpets, gold and silver
Takhi-e-Rawan (moveable throne),covered Ambabadis and open Howdahs,
palanquins and carriages with rich embroidered velvet coverings are
displayed in this gallery. The museum has a splendid collection of miniature
paintings including two unique and priceless manuscripts of the Persian
translation of the two Hindu epics, of the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The
latterwork, specially made for the use of Emperor Akbar, known as Razamnama,
contains illustrations made by the greatest Mughal painters and is reported
to have costed seventy two thousand gold mohurs in 1584-85 AD Besides the
miniatures of Amer-Jaipur school, evident in the illustrations of the
Ragamala, Bhagavata Purana, Devi Mahatmya etc are good examples of early and
later Mughal schools, Deccanese schools and fair specimens from Bikaner,
Malwa, Bundi, kota, Jodhpur, Kishangarh etc, are also represented. A fine
collection of astronomical books in Arabic, Persian, Latin and Sanskrit
acquired by Sawai Jai Singh for study of the planets, and their movements,
an old copy of the Ain-i-Akbari and its Hindi translation made in 1797 AD
and a rare manuscript on 146 forms of Saligram, Surdas' Padavali
(contemporary copy) and the earliest copy of Biharis' Satsai are also on
display. The manuscript collection consist of nearly 16,000 volumes.
Folkore Museum, Jaisalmer
For anyone interested in seeing the culture of Jaisalmer on display through
the ages, the Lok Sanskritik, Sangrahalaya or the Museum of Folk Culture
situated on the bank of Gadsisar lake in Mehar Bagh Garden is a must. This
museum was established in 1984 by N.K.Sharma, a local connoisseur.
This well organised museum is
divided into six sections and has a rich collections of paintings,
photographs, costumes, hairstyles and jewellery, utility articles of rural
life, camel and horse decorations, fossils, ornamental arches, as well as
articles connected with folk and cultural lifestyles.
Government Museum, Jodhpur
Located in the Umaid gardens on High Court Road, it has a large and fairly
interesting collection. There are many stuffed animals, including a number
of desert birds in two glass cases, each with a thorn bush. The military
section includes cumbersome wooden biplane, models and an extraordinary
Government Museum, Kota
Originally located in the Hawa Mahal just above the entrance of the fort it
has now been shifted to the Brij Vilas Palace and has a new display and
The museum possesses several hundred sculptures from different cultural
centers of the region. Generally, the sculptures belong to the period from
the 8th to the 12th century AD though early specimens of the Gupta period
(4th to 5th century A.D.) can also be seen. Sculptures worth mentioning
are Shesh Sayi Vishnu form Badoli (Chittaurgarh), Jain image of Vardhaman
from Baran and a dancing pair from Ramgarh.
A few inscriptions are displayed in the museum.Yupa pillars from Badwa are
very important specimens of 3rd century AD showing the popularity of Vedic
discovered from various sites of Kota region are preserved and displayed
in the numismatic section. Most of the coins belong to the Mughal period
and a few of them to the Rajput.
Painting Section -
miniature paintings of Bundi, Kota, Nathdwara and Jaipur schools are
preserved in the museum. Paintings of Shrimad Bhagawata of the early 17th
century are most attractive from the point of view of workmanships.
contains a number of manuscripts in Sanskrit. They include Vedic,
Astronomical and Astrological works. Some Hindi manuscripts are also
persevered. The Gita and the Bhagawata written in the minutest letters on
the papers scrool are worth mentioning from the calligraphic point of
Local Arts & Crafts of
Arms, several kinds of handicraft costumes, etc. are
also displayed in the section. A panoramic view of the cultural aspects of
Kota region is available in the section through photographs, charts, maps
City Palace Museum, Udaipur
The huge City Palace, towering over the Pichola Lake, is the largest palace
complex in Rajasthan. Construction of this palace was started by Maharana
Udai Singh, the city's founder. The main part of the palace is now preserved
as a museum with a large and
varied collection. It was
established in 1890 and is one of the earliest museums of the state. The
museum includes the Mor Chowk with its beautiful peacocks in mosaics, the
favourite Rajasthani bird. The Manka (Ruby) Mahal has glass and porcelain
figures while Krishna Vilas has a remarkable collection of miniatures. Bhim
Vilas a boldly stripped floor and scenes from the Radha-Krishna stories are
painted on the walls. In the Bari Mahal, there is a fine central garden.
More paintings can be seen in the Zanana Mahal. The Moti Mahal has beautiful
mirror work and the Chini Mahal is covered in ornamental tiles. This museum
has the armour of Maharana Pratap and drums and bugles of the ruler of
Mewar, Rana Sanga.
Government Museum, Udaipur
The Government Museum Of Udaipur was originally located in Gulab Bagh and
was called Victoria Hall Museum. It has now been shifted to Karan Vilas
Mahal within the precincts of the City Palace. This museum highlights the
culture and heritage of Rajasthan through its extensive collection of
excavated item inscriptions, sculptures, paintings and handicrafts. The
inscriptions exhibited at the museum range from those of 2nd century BC to
17th century AD The antiquities of the plastic art of Mewar add to the
attraction. The sculpture gallery, spread over a big hall, contain some
unique and valuable specimens-Indriya Matrika from Jagat (5th-6th century
A.D.); Kumari-Matrikafrom Kumbhalgarh;Shiva head from Kalyanpur; Jain Kuber
from Bansi (8th Century A.D.).Inscriptions exhibited at the museum date back
to as early as 200 BC The most remarkable collection is that of more than
nine thousand miniature paintings of Mewar school from the period of
Maharaja Jagat Singh (1628-1652 A.D.) to Maharaja Swaroop Singh (1842-1861
AD).It has a Natural History section called the Children Gallery which has
models of animals like tiger, deer, etc. The museum also has a collection of
colourful Mewari turbans.
It is located on Fateh Sagar,6kms from the City Palace. A village has been
created with 26 replica huts. This museum has a wide collection of folk art
and it also gives a glimpse of the tribal life of Rajasthan.