Dungarpur Museum

Historical purposes are solved only when there are testimonies to the great acts of the people in the present. Dungarpur Museum or the Government Museum in Dungarpur is a richly decorated place in Rajasthan with huge number of sculptures collected from various era of ancient and medieval period in North Western part of India. The present town of Dungarpur had a rich history of great rulers from the Rajput clans with the princely state being recognised by the British Raj. When the archaeological department in Rajasthan collected a few items from its excavations, the number of sculptures gradually increased, warranting a separate museum for this purpose.

City of Dungarpur is located in the district with the same name, towards the southernmost part of Rajasthan. Historically, this city came into existence in mid 14th century, when Rawal Veer Singh of Mewar dynasty set up his kingdom. These Rajput chiefs were given the title of Maharawal and their descendants have been in the seat of rule in Dungarpur since the 14th century till the time of British Raj. Even after independence, the king went on to become the elected member of Rajya Sabha and Rajasthan Legislative Assembly. During his time, the government archaeological museum was established. This beautiful city at the base of the Aravalli Hill ranges provides a serene climate and environment for tourists, who can find a wide range of sculptures preserved in the Dungarpur Museum which is also known as the government museum. The city is also well known for a number of palaces and havelis boasting of exotic designs with features like large jharokhas or windows.

Origin of the Dungarpur Museum

During the year 1959, the Department of Archaeology and Museums of Government of Rajasthan decided to set up a centre to display various sculptures excavated from the Vagad area of Dungarpur District. These sculptures were collected from village areas like Amjhara, Baroda, Galiyakot and few other villages of historic importance. Initially, for one year, these sculptures were displayed in Panchayat Samiti hall of Dungarpur, although in collection of various fragments and architectural pieces. By the late 1970s, a vast collection of sculptures was accumulated in this existing panchayat Samiti hall as the excavation of sculptures increased. Further addition to the structures was done by the contributions from the royal family of Dungarpur, many from the personal collections of Maharawal Lakshman Singh and Dr Nagendra Singh. They donated to the collection of such things, which were their personal belongings, family images and sculptures from the royal ancestry. It became therefore, necessary to have a separate building, for which the land was also donated by the royal Dungarpur family. In the year 1988, on 11th February, the building was officially inaugurated as the Rajmata Devendra Kunwar Government Museum or the Dungarpur Museum. This museum became famous in the region and is included in the tour itineraries of tourists from far and wide.

Collections in Dungarpur Museum

Dungarpur Museum primarily has a rich collection of various sculptures, mostly brought together from excavations carried out by the Department of Archaeology and Museum of Rajasthan Government. These items, along with those donated by the royal family are the important constituents of this acclaimed museum. It is believed that about 197 statues of gods and goddesses are present in three galleries, into which the entire museum has been divided. In addition to the sculptures, there are 23 inscriptions belonging to different eras of Dungarpur’s rule. Apart from these findings, tourists can also see ancient coins, metal images and various articles belonging to the tribal populations of these areas.

Antiques made of metal and terracotta by the Motela and other tribal women are displayed here in Dungarpur Museum. Vagad area cultural symbols, musical instruments, marriage ritualistic items and various photographs from Baroda and Gaibsagar Lake can be found. Many of the statues excavated and displayed in the museum belong to the Gupta rule from 6th century. Some of these are the Trantik Ganesh idol, Veena adorned Shiva, Harihar Statue, Kuber Statue and Vaishnavi over her ride and many such sculptures of gods and goddesses. Some Jain statutes can be seen in the galleries of this Museum.

From the collections displayed at Dungarpur Museum, it is clearly evident that the culture and religious practices of the people in Vagad area and present Dungarpur district can be easily known. Such collections are sure to give a detailed peek into the life of this region and depict the lifestyle of the people as well as the erstwhile rulers.

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