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Bharat Kala Bhavan

The Bharat Kala Bhavan is located inside the Banaras Hindu University campus. This art and architecture museum has a huge collection of paintings, Buddhist scriptures and other archaeological materials.

The Bharat Kala Bhavan was established in 1920. Its first honorary Chairman was the noted poet Rabindranath Tagore and the Vice Chairman was poet's nephew, Shilpacharya Abanindranath Tagore. However, the credit of origin and development of the museum goes to Rai Krishnadasa, a pioneer among the Indian art historians.

The museum has a figure of Lord Krishna lifting the Mount Govardhana. Many statues in the museum substantiate the existence of Krishna cult in Kashi. The museum has a vast collection of over 100,000 artifacts like paintings, textiles, costumes, decorative arts, Indian philately and literary and archival materials. Most of the articles are historically important and beautiful. The fame of Bharat Kala Bhavan chiefly rests on the priceless collection of Indian paintings. The museum is said to possess the largest collection of miniature paintings in India.

Though the visitors of the museum are mostly university students, alumni, research scholars and teachers, the museum has seen many other visitors also. Many eminent people like Mahatma Gandhi, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Acharya Nandlal Bose, noted historian H. Cousin, famous archaeologist Sir Leonard Wolley and Mortimer Wheeler have praised the well-preserved collection. The museum was donated to the nation in 1962. On the ground floor, a central hall serves as a temporary exhibition. This floor has galleries which include Mahamana Malviya Gallery, Chhavi (a gallery of paintings), Sculpture Gallery, Nidhi (a gallery of treasures). The first floor has Numismatic Gallery (collection of coins), Archaeological Gallery, Decorative Art Gallery, Benaras Through the Ages Gallery and Galleries on Alice Boner and M. K. Gupta. There are some proposed extensions of galleries like the Gallery of Archive and Literary Materials, Gallery on Textiles and Costumes and a Gallery of Metal Images.

Some activities are carried by Bharat Kala Bhavan that focus on museology, visual arts, performing arts, Indian medicine and study of Hindi, Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic and Urdu.

The publication section of the Bharat Kala Bhavan has many interesting titles like Chhavi II, Woolen Textiles and Costumes, Bundi Gita Govinda, Gupta Gold Coins, Gold Coins of Imperial Kushanas and Their Successor, and many more. All these titles are available at reasonable prices. Bharat Kala Bhavan is regarded by many as the best university museum of the nation.

The museum is open to all during 11 am to 4.30 pm, on working days. Timing may change during summer (May, June). The publications, art albums, reproductions, picture postcards are available at the sales counter. Bharat Kala Bhavan has such a wide variety of items to view that an entire day could be spent here. It is definitely worth a visit so that you can see the cultural, mythological and aesthetic face of India.

Last Updated On: 2011/07/16

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