The Assam State Museum Guwahati is reputed as one of the largest multifaceted museums in India. There are some world renowned famous museums and also various types of museums in India. The National Museum in Delhi is undoubtedly the best museum in India while also the biggest museum in India with over 200,000 artefacts.
For images, check my Stock Gallery here. These are available for Prints as well.
Among the historical museum in India , we come across the Assam State museum as among the top. The museum of Assam situated in the Dighalupukhuri area of Guwahati is centrally located. The state museum which is hailed as the oldest museum in North East India was the focus of my stay at Guwahati. Among the list of things to do in Guwahati or places to visit in Guwahati, make sure to include the Assam State Museum.
Origin of Assam State Museum Guwahati
The Assam State Museum Guwahati is founded by the Kamarupa Anusandhan Samity and was opened in 1940 under British patronage. The state government eventually took over the museum in 1953. For an in-depth insight into the history of Assam, I decided to check out the Assam State Museum. The museum, spread in a colonial-style building over three floors, has a collection that includes Garments, weapons, paintings: sculptures, stones and copper. There is also some World War II memorabilia. Divided into sections like an epigraph, sculptures, natural history, folk art, crafts, musical instruments, paintings, geology, etc.; This museum is a treasure trove for those who wish to learn the art and history of Assam.
Kamarupa Anusandhana Samiti
In April 1912, a research society named Kamarupa Anusandhana Samiti was established to undertake folk art of Assam, history, and literature research. This led to the formation of the Assam Research Society. Rai Bahadur Kanak Lai Barua was instrumental in the establishment of the museum.
As I walked through, I understood the importance of the museum in preserving the history and the socio-cultural link of the Assamese people. I could see that the purpose of the museum was for preservation, exposure, documentation and study of the cultural heritage of the Assam region including the social, political and cultural fabric of this region.
Galleries of Assam State Museum
The Assam State Museum Guwahati has 13802 objects, out of which 1621 are displayed. There are 42 Masterpieces displayed. The Guwahati museum information is spoken about in the succeeding paragraphs of this blog post.
Some of the exciting display items that I saw were ivory paintings, sculptures, metal, wooden costumes etc. It is indeed a wonderful visit for all those who wish to witness the traditions of the state of Assam.
The Sculpture Masterpieces
The Assam state museum has a good collection of sculptures. Some important art pieces are images of Sura -Sundari, an icon of Surya from Davoka. Then I saw the statue representing Vishnu from Barpeta. All these are from the Pre-Ahom period.
The vast stone image of Nataraja is a masterpiece. It is carved from the pre-Ahom period in the Pala-Sena style. The style of Ambari sculptures dates to the 13-14th century. Besides sculptures in stone, I also saw metallic sculptures in large numbers. The Government museum truly showcases these artefacts in a state of the art facility.
I wandered through the sculptures section of the Guwahati museum. I could see that the artefacts were predominantly related to Shaivism, Vaishnava, Surya, shakti and Brahma. Shaivism was the dominant faith in the Kamarupa region in the pre Ahom era as well in the later part .
Nataraja means the supreme dancer. Shiv is regarded as the ultimate in the art of dancing. The dance personifies his universe in action and destruction. Three images of Nataraja have been found in the Assam museum; these are from the banks of the Brahmaputra and the Ambari excavation.
What is my blog about ?
My blog focuses quite a bit on nature based places and off beat destinations. India has abundance of these kind of places . Read about the forest magic of Odisha out here or in depth story on the trek to Sandakphu to see the Kanchenjunga up-close.
Going westwards, I would recommend the reader to glance at the beaches of Goa. My recommendation from my stay in the state for over 2 years. I am sure a visit to know about the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway while to the North of the country we have the trek to Kashmir Great Lakes or maybe visit the high altitude lakes of Ladakh region.
Galleries in the Assam State Museum
Freedom Fighter Gallery: In addition to the Sculptures gallery, I also visited the Freedom fighter gallery. These showcased images of the country’s freedom fighters who were instrumental in snatching India’s freedom from British dominance.
Painting Gallery. This gallery showcases works of modern painters like Ramesh Ghosh, Mukta Gopinath Bordoloi, Benu Misra, among others.
Ethnography Gallery. Showcases the artefacts of different sects of tribal culture prevalent. Tribes like the Bodos, Dimasa, Tiwa, Hajong, among others, are emphasized here in this gallery.
Village Life. The Village life of Assam showcases aspects of village life prevalent. A model of an Assamese household, cottage industry, and a model of namghar is displayed.
The Arms and Ammunition gallery. Displays Cannons, swords, weapons etc. as well as ammunition from the WW II of the Japanese army. Indeed the museum of Assam was captivating to say the least as I wandered through the various sections.
Epigraphy gallery of the museum displays stone and copper plate inscriptions dating from the 5th century to the 18th century.
There are numerous other galleries within the state museum like the North East Gallery, manuscript section, Textile, terracotta and wooden artefacts. Indeed, an eyeopener to visit. One gets a proper introduction on Assam before venturing and exploring the state.
In conclusion, I suggest that Museums are interesting venues to expand one’s knowledge outlook about the region and place. It does not matter whether one is a traveller or resident, for the depth of knowledge exposed during the visit shapes one’s thought process of the region and its history. We have best museums in world being user friendly with virtual museum tours catered for. The top museums in India are definitely on a upward trend in terms of all aspects. We should encourage this by active participation.
Do visit the Assam State Museum; the next time you visit Guwahati. Explore the famous art gallery of India; spend time at leisure and come out enriched. Bookmark this blog for future reference.
Visiting Hours Assam State Museum Guwahati
The museum entry is from 10 A.M to 5 P.M on all days except Monday and holidays.
We can take DSLR cameras by paying a minimal fee. Video Shoots I am not sure of the rules.
The Assam Museum has a nominal ticket price which is easily affordable by everyone. This goes a long way in easing the economics of administration .