Varendra Research Museum projects historical artifacts
RAJSHAHI, Sept 16: Varendra Research Museum, the first museum established in erstwhile East Bengal in 1910, is a popular tourist attraction contributing a lot to showcasing the century-old artifacts.
The museum, located at the heart of the metropolis and run by Rajshahi University, houses the monuments that still defied the ravages of man and nature.
Its collection consists of stone and metal sculptures, epigraphs, coins, pottery and plaques in terracotta, weapons, Arabic and Persian documents, paintings, books and periodicals, Sanskrit and Bangla manuscripts.
The museum library has a collection of books and periodicals, right from the beginning, essential for research and higher studies in ancient and medieval history and art and archaeology of Bengal. Professor Abdul Mazid, Director of the museum, said the centuries-old artefacts showcased at the museum present the glorious past of Bengal in general and of Varendra in particular.
Referring to the historical records he said the museum originated from Varendra Research Society, which was established by Saratkumar Ray and two of his close associates Akshay Kumar Maitreya and Ramaprasad Chanda.
Saratkumar led an exploratory tour accompanied by AK Maitreya, Rakhaldas Bandyopadhyay and a few others to Deopara, Palpara, Malancha, Jugpur, Itahar, Chabbishnagar, Mandoil, Kumarpur, Khetur and Vijaynagar in early April 1910.
The party was able to collect 32 pieces of sculptures, including the life-size images of Chandi from Mandoil.
Akshay Kumar constructed the museum building at his own cost on the land donated by his elder brother Raja Pramada Nath Ray of Dighapatiya. Lord Carmichael laid its foundation stone on 13 November 1916. The museum was opened on 27 November 1919.
Gallery-1 showcases relics of the Indus Valley-Civilization (2500 BC), found from the excavations at Paharpur in Bangladesh (8th-12th century AD), Persian farmans and Bangla documents, Sanskrit inscriptions in old Bangla scripts, glazed tiles, metal ware in Islamic style, hand written copies of the Holy Quran, Bangla and Sanskrit manuscripts, Mughal paintings and miscellaneous sculptures in stone and bronze, antiquities from Nalanda, Bihar and other parts of India. -BSS