Srinagar, Sep.25 : The ongoing renovation of the old building of Shri Pratap Singh Museum in Srinagar is all set to turn this historical institution into a high-tech museum.
This project worth rupees 280 million (28 crores) is being carried out at a fast pace and is expected to lend a rare experience to the visitors, the tourists in particular, to learn more about the historical artifacts and other vintage collections in the museum.
Shri Pratap Singh Museum is located at Lal Mandi between Zero Bridge and Amira Kadal, the first 'old bridge' in Srinagar.
Built in 1898, this structure that houses the museum was the summer palace of the Kashmir Maharajas.
The nucleus of the collection based on objects from the Toshakhana (storeroom of royal relics) of the erstwhile rulers of Jammu and Kashmir includes shawls, paintings, arms, silver images, copper and brass utensils and a wide range of Ladakhi handicrafts.
Local residents feel that the high-tech museum will also help in promoting the tourism in the valley.
"Kashmiris are happy with the construction of the building of the museum. We want that the Government should pay more attention in this regard. The building will get ready very soon and it has been made in a way that the tourists arriving here come to see the museum first," said Adil Ahmed, a local resident.
Yasir Ahmed, another local noted, "We can say that it's a major contribution to the Kashmir from the historical development aspect and also a big achievement on account of traditions and values of Kashmiris."
Earlier, the museum was equipped with limited facilities but now the Archives and Archeological Department of Jammu and Kashmir has managed to docket all the collections and make relevant arrangements for their display.
"We didn't have much of facilities for the specially-abled children. We didn't have multi-disciplines hall or auditorium, which should be there in the museum here now. We have provided all such facilities in new museum to the visitors irrespective of age, colour and religion," said Mohammed Shafi Zahid, Deputy Director, Archives and Archeology, J and K.
The Government of Jammu and Kashmir had attempted to expand the museum right from 1975, but unfortunately, due to certain odd circumstances, the construction of the building could not commence.
However, overcoming all the odds over the past three decades, the dream project of 1975 is all set to become a reality.
Once the summer palace of the Maharajas of Kashmir, it was later converted into a museum in the year 1898. A major portion of the museum collection, at that point of time, consisted of objects from the Jammu and Kashmir toshkhana.
Sri Pratap Singh Museum of Kashmir displays an assortment of more than 200 textiles. The renowned jamawar, spreads, gabbas and rumals, dating back to the Afghan period, from 1752 to 1947, form a part of the textiles collection.
One of the most brilliant pieces of the museum collection is a map of Srinagar in needlework, prepared during reign of maharaja Ranjil Singh. Later, it was presented as gift to the Prince of Wales when he visited Kashmir.
The museum also has a rich collection of archaeological stuff excavated from the Pandrethan, Parashpura and Avantipura sites. The collection of the excavated items includes pottery, terracotta tiles, metal artifacts and stone objects. These objects date back to different time periods, ranging from the 2nd to 12th century AD.
Also on display are life-size statues of the Lord Buddha, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma, in a chronological order. Sharda, Persian and Arabic stone inscriptions, 2nd century terracotta tiles from Hoinar (Pahalgam) and 3rd century Harwan tiles are the other items on display inside the museum. y Afzal Butt