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Bihar Museum

Located in Patna, Bihar Museum has a huge collection of artifacts that showcase the rich history and culture of Bihar.

Bihar Museum is a museum located in Patna. It was partially opened in August 2015. 'The children's museum', the main entrance area, and an orientation theatre were the only parts opened to the public in August 2015. Later, in October 2017 remaining galleries were also opened. More than 100 artefacts were transferred here from Patna Museum.

Background Patna is a city with a storied past and this land saw the advent of many glorious civilizations. The history of this city unravels like a ball of thread that surprises you with twists and turns as we travel over two millennia. The Patna Museum established in 1917 will soon turn a century old along with the date of discovery of its most cherished and visited artefact – the world famous Didarganj Yakshi, a statue of monumental Mauryan vision. In the state of Bihar, the need for a new museum was seriously felt, the Patna Museum having limitations, both in physical space as well as in its design and methods of presentation. Department of Art, Culture and Youth, State of Bihar (DACY) proposed a new Museum on Bailey Road on the site west of the Patna Museum. Commonly known as the Jadu Ghar, literally house of magic, to most residents of Bihar, the Patna Museum has celebrated artefacts and collections. Many of these objects of history and art are relocated to the new Museum with the vision of making it a central focus to celebrate the glorious history of this region, a catalysing force that united ancient India. With this in mind, based on competitive bidding, the world’s largest and leading firm, Lord Cultural Resources were commissioned to do the planning of a world-class Museum in Patna.

The existing Patna Museum was the starting point for the new Museum and the vast collections from the Patna Museum were carefully researched and analysed. It was decided to keep much of the natural history as part of the interpretation of that existing Museum as the large silicified tree that was cemented into the ground. This also became the signifier of the natural history collection at the present Patna Museum. At Patna Museum, it was proposed new exhibits would be added, exploring the modern history of Bihar from the colonial period forward, with a focus on the heroism of the struggle for independence and the achievements of Bihar and India since Independence.

The Bihar Museum has several galleries. These include the Orientation gallery, the children gallery, the regional gallery, the contemporary gallery, the historical art galleries, the Bihari Diaspora gallery and the visible storage gallery. The exhibits on different subjects are displayed in separate galleries. Each gallery is huge and has many artifacts on display including ones dating back to the 4th century.

Orientation Gallery The gallery gives an overview of the Museum and a theatre is located at the end of the gallery. A brief film introducing the museum and its collections is screened in the auditorium regularly. Film shows on Bihar's timeline and Bihar's history are also shown here.

Children's gallery Its collection of artefacts and exhibit items is divided into six domains: The Orientation Room, the Wildlife Sanctuary, the history sections on Chandragupta Maurya and Sher Shah Suri, the Arts and Culture section and the Discovery Room. Among the exhibits are a simulated the Asian paradise flycatcher, the Indian giant flying squirrel, animals, birds, trees and plants native to the state of Bihar. The gallery's focus is family learning; most exhibits are designed to be interactive, allowing children and families to actively participate.

History galleries Gallery A The gallery has various artefacts from the Harappan Civilization also known as Indus Valley Civilization, the second urbanization and Haryanka. The whole collection of this gallery represents the advanced technology and sophisticated lifestyle of the Harappan people. The gallery has objects from the 4th century BCE to the 1st century BCE. It has objects spanning three major dynasties of India; the Mauryas, the Nandas and the Shishunagas. The gallery also houses fragments of railings from various ancient Stupas that are carved on with episodes from Buddha's and Mahavira’s life Gallery B This gallery exhibits artefacts from the Gupta Dynasty (4th-6th centuries CE) Gallery C Coming Soon: The Medieval Period: Bihar in Transition Regional gallery The gallery has curated exhibitions of Crafts, folk culture and traditions of Bihar.

Historical Art The gallery’s main attraction is the Didarganj Yakshi.

The Didarganj Yakshi (or Didarganj Chauri Bearer) is one of the finest examples of very early Indian stone statues. It used to be dated to the 3rd century BCE, as it has the fine Mauryan polish associated with Mauryan art. But this is also found on later sculptures and it is now usually dated to approximately the 2nd century CE, based on the analysis of shape and ornamentation, or the 1st century CE. The treatment of the forelock in particular is said to be characteristically Kushan.

Bihari Diaspora gallery The Bihari Diaspora Gallery explores the contribution of Bihari people in making indelible imprints in the history and culture of other lands where they settled. The gallery provides the historic context of how Biharis were relocated to countries like Mauritius, Bangladesh and beyond. Some were recruited as labourers in the early days of the East India Company and others explored foreign lands on their own initiative. Activate an interactive map to learn about the origins of Bihari culture, trade routes and how the population has relocated in foreign lands. Aside of the past movements, also discover recent stories of the people of Bihar, their accomplishments and their involvements, to understand the influence Bihar has had around the world.

Visible storage gallery Apart from the galleries, there is publication and education section, sales counter, cafeteria etc. There is a restaurant for authentic Bihari cuisine, named as The Potbelly inside Bihar Museum.

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