SRINAGAR: Meeras Mahal, the valley’s first and biggest private museum and home to more than 7,000 artefacts, has gone online, providing an ethnographic lens into the rich cultural heritage of Kashmir. The museum’s website was inaugurated by Deputy Commissioner Baramulla Syed Sehrish Asgar last week.
Stating that the artefacts have a huge cultural and heritage value as they depict the lifestyle and living pattern of the people of a region, DC Baramulla said, “The museum has been used by the local population to get an understanding of the life and times of their immediate ancestors. It gives people firsthand information of their past,” she said.
The museum in the Sopore area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district houses ancient ornaments, coins, traditional dresses, and utensils, which can now be accessed through the website www.meerasmahalmuseum.com.
It was set up in the year 2002 by renowned educationist Aatiqa Bano who worked hard to preserve Kashmir’s identity and depict its rich history.
Muzzamil Bashir, President Meeras Mahal, said, “Initially, the museum was started with a Kashmiri firepot (Kondal) which was kept in a small room, and the additions kept growing with gradual collections. People mostly come here to donate things with an aim to preserve them.”
He said the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Kashmir – an organization involved in mapping, documenting and preserving the cultural heritage of Kashmir – is supporting the museum. We are currently shifting the items to the newly-constructed structure, which is a gallery type and fulfilling all the needs of a museum, he added.
Most of the artifacts, Bashir said, are items of daily use that were a common sight in Kashmir until the end of the 20th century. The Meeras Mahal museum collections are classified into terracotta, woodwork, wicker and grass-ware, metal (including jewelry), stone, textiles, and manuscripts, he said, adding that new addition to this Museum includes heritage items from Ladakh.
During the peak season of tourism, heritage lovers, both locals including college and school students, and outsiders (foreigners) prefer to visit the Meeras Mahal to gain knowledge about the valley’s rich past. This will certainly help people across the globe to know about Kashmir’s rich past, he added. (KNO)