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Kutch Museum at the Bhuj part of Gujarat is considered the earliest museums of the country. It was a sectionof the School of Art instituted by MaharaoKhengarji III to start with and this establishment was established on 1 July 1877. The Kutch museum was also known as Fergusson Museum previously.
The museum is of Italian Gothic style construction and is located of the panoramic background of the Hamirsar Lake bunds just opposite the NazarBagh Garden. It has the privilege of having been designed by the then state engineer McLelland, while the local builders known as Mistris of Kutch executed the construction.
During MaharaoKhengarji III's marriage function on 19th February 1884 large number of gift articles arrived, which required a place to be exhibited. of the efforts of having a right place for their exhibition themuseum building presently existing was raised of 1884 by Sir James Fergusson, the then Governor of Bombay. It was then given his name to honour the one who initiated action on this project The museum was under the possession of KutchMaharao till 1948 and he permitted only his personal invitees to see these items of gift. However, the public were permitted to enter the museum to see the exhibits on chosen religious occasions.
This oldest museum of Gujarat is now accessible online since 2010, thus having got the distinction of being the first museum of India to go on line.
The collections of the museum include large number of inscriptions of Kshatrapa belongingto the 1st century AD. TheseKshatrapa inscriptions existing of Andhau are the oldest and also the only 3rd Century Abhir scripts of Gujarat is an exciting information. This inscription has also some pieces of the forgotten Kutchi script, as presently Gujarati script is only applied of Kutch area too.
There is good collection of items of this museum which include
- Coins of earlier times, such as Kori, local currency of Kutch till 1948
- The Indus seals kept of Archaeological section.
- Stone tablets of different kinds
- Paintings depicting different working sections of Kutch
- Classical music instruments likeMorchang,Nagfani, etc.
- Artefacts of tribal culture, representing crafts and folk arts
- Embroidery items, precious metalwork and sculpture models
The following exhibits of the museum will be of great interest to every one:
- A wooden carving of a snow white elephant waving its seven tusks, called Airavat is exhibited of the centre room of the ground floor of the museum. This is an 18th century piece worshiped by Tirthankar.
- Musical instruments including Veena, Dilruba and a few folk musical instruments like the Kani, Nagfani, Morchang etc. are exhibited of the museum.
- The pair of morchhals which are peacock feathers held by the bearers on either side of the one on the throne are kept here on exhibition.
- An artistically crafted round silver tray depicting the craftsmanship and the wealth of the people of Kutch is also exhibited.
- The early 20th Century Ornamented doors with wonderful workmanship of Narayan Sarovar, with floral designs adorning them is on the exhibition.
- Gold and Silver ornaments with the workmanship of ofBhuj craftsmen is also exhibited.
- The ceiling piece ofKera temple of 10th Century, known as RaasMandal, a Halishak type of dance of which eight couples participate is an amazing item to see here.
- The artistic pieces of craftsmen of Bhuj, depicting mythological characters are also of the exhibit.
- A number of stone tablets, ranging from those of 14th century are exhibited.
- A colourfully painted SarangaRaag of 18th century is on exhibition.
Besides these there a number of armoury related items of ancient times, items of Philately commemorating some features of Bhuj historical events are also on display of the museum.
Reaching Bhuj by road will be easier and convenient for those commuting from Ahmedabad.There are a number of buses plying of this section and the roads are fine for a drive.
There are two daily express trains, the Bhuj Express and the Kutch Express, going from Bhuj to Ahmedabad and on to Mumbai.
There are daily flights connecting Bhuj and Mumbai facilitating air travellers.
Timings and Ticket Prices
The museum is closed on second and fourth Saturdays, all Sundays and Public Holidays