Government Museum, Ajmer
( A brief introduction )
This Government Museum is situated inside the Akbar’s fort in Ajmer, also known as Magazine. It was established in Oct. 1908 under the initiative of Lord Curzon and Sir John Marshall, the then Director General of Archaeology in India. Later on developed by its first Superintendent, Pandit Gaurishankar Heerachand Ojha. The aim of which is to focus the cultural heritage of the region through its exhibits. The museum primarily consist of Sculptures, inscriptions, pre-historic section, miniature paintings, arms and armor and objects of art and crafts.
Sculptures constitute the most interesting section in the museum. It has some of the ancient, rare and unique piece which have been acquired from Pushkar, Adhai-din-ka-jhonpra, Baghera, Pisangan, Harsnath (Sikar) Bharatpur, Sirohi, Arthuna and Osian.
These Sculptures range in date from Gupta period down to the 19th century A.D., represents Shaiv, Vaishnava and jain faiths respectively. Among these art specimens some of the superb master pieces like Lingodbhav Maheswar (No. 374), Charturmukh Shivlinga’s (No. 15 & 16), marriage of Shiv and Parvati (No. 13), Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh (No.206), Ganesh (No. 1054), Vishnu (No.50), Surya (No.370), Nakshatras (No.451), Vahah (No.448), Laxmi Narain (No.352), Kuber(No.54, 349, 356), and Indra (No.55) etc.
Besides, some interesting Jain figures are also displayed in a separate gallery. Rajasthan being an important center of Jain culture is responsible for giving a good collection of Jain sculptures to this museum. Which include images of Rishabnath (No.44), Parsvanath (No.56 & 17), Kunthunath (No.1143), Mahaveer (No.279) Shantinath (No.344-345), Yaksha Gaumukh (No.370), and Saraswati (No.57-58) deserve special attention and prove the Jain influence in the region.
The majority of sculptural collection is assignable to the 10th century A.D. to 12th century A.D. and it was the period during which the Chauhan Kings of Ajmer like Simhraj, Vigrahraj IInd, Vigrahraj IIIrd, Ajaydeo, Vigrahraj IVth (nicknamed Visaldeo), Someswar and the Great Prathviraj IIIrd.
This period witnessed the growth in every field of life. Art architectures and literary art activities reached it zenith. Ajmer, Baghera, Sarwar, Naraina, Bisalpur, Ranthambhor and Nadol were main cultural centers in Rajasthan in this period.
The materials used are light sand stone, white marble schist, basalt, granite and in 11-12th century images (from Bhaghera) a fine grieved black soft stone, which makes possible high polished minute carving, clear cut and finest featuring of the figures.
Next to scriptural exhibits in the museum are the unique epigraphs, which engage attention of scholar’s and have been collected mostly from different parts of Rajasthan. Of special interest among these are –
1. rahomi inscription of Berli (Ajmer) assignable to 2nd century B.C. It is one of the earliest epigraph discovered in Rajasthan. 2. Baghri inscription of Vikram Samvat 481. 3. Jodhpur inscription of Bauka dated V.S. 894 (it says the Pratihar's of Mandor are the descendants of the Brahamin Harishchandra and records the named and dates of his descendants up to Bauka). 4. Pushkar inscription of 10th century A.D. (it contains the name of king Vakapatiraj). 5. Slab inscribed with Harkeli Natak 1153 A.D. (Composed by Chauhan King Vigrahraj IVth). 6. Slab containing Lalit Vigrahraj Natak 1153 A.D. (composed by court poet Somdeo during the period of Chauhan ruler Vigraraj IVth.) 7. Inscription of the time of Chamundraj V.S 1137 8. Inscription of the time Great Prathviraj IIIrd V.S. 1234 (records the construction of a vapi) a number of important copper plates also add to the value of his collection.
Arms and Armour –
In the weapons section we find all kinds of weapons used in battles of mediaeval period. These includes swords, dragger’s, guns, dhal’s, kataar, farsa and jagnol.
Swords are of different kinds having various types of hilts and fine work on hilts according to the choice of user. Other note worthy sword are which can be kept under pillow and used in emergency. The guns are of several types such as Toderdar, Patharidar, Topidar, Kartusi, Eknali, Donali and Ramchangi. Helmet complete with nose guard, spik etc. of a rajput warrior is also noteworthy. A cannon having historical importance is also displayed in the museum.
Excavated material :-
Pre-historic relics and cast of seals with pictograph, which were discovered a Mohanjodro in the Indus valley are displayed. Notable among them are flint blade or knives, images of Mother goddess, Venus, wheel of toy cart, pieces of conch, small portion of carbonized wheat, copper arrow head, Bangles of clay, needle, bricks of various types, stone for sharping tools, human and animal figures, copper bangles, blade of an axe etc. are 3000 year’s early to Christian era.
Art and Crafts-
In days gone by the artists of this area did caving on wood and ivory as well, as few specimens of their craftsmanship are antimony boxes having ivory and appliqué work, vases and goblets, incised and embossed work on brass, ivory comb, necklace and knife etc. wooden dharau and pen holder, marble plates, stone grinder and some specimens of blue pottery have been put on display in the gallery.
Reserve collection –
Object preserved in the Reserve collections can be shown and photographed to the Research scholars on prior permission of the Director, Archaeology and Museums, Rajasthan, Jaipur.
Reference Library –
This museum has a rich collection of reference books on history, art and archaeology, Research scholars are allowed to go through them.
The museum remains open daily from 10.00 A.M. to 4.30P.M. Museum remain closed on public holidays like Holi, Deepawali, Dussehra, Republic day, Id-ul-juha, Mahanavami, Janmastami, Navratra Sthapana and Goverdhan.
Entry fee -
Indian Rs. 5/ foreigners Rs. 10
Student concession Rs. 2.00 each (Concession tickets are issued to the student group only after the submission of an application on letter head or duly signed by the head of the institutions with the permission of the curator, students holding Identity cards are also allowed on Concessional tickets.)
Organizational Set-up –
The museum of Ajmer is a Government institution and is under the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums Department, Govt. of Rajasthan Jaipur. It is under the administrative control of the Superintendent Archeology and Museums, Jaipur Circle, Hawa Mah al, Jaipur, Rajasthan.
The staff of the museum consists of the Curator (Officer In-charge) Office Assists. Beside Gallery attendants and watch and ward staff.
Protected Monument Akbar’s Fort –
This Fort was built by Mughal Emperor Akbar in the year 1570 A.D. (Hijri 976). It is a massive square building with lofty octagonal bastions at each corner. In the middle of the fort there is a beautiful audience chamber and a magnificent gateway towards the west facing the town, the fort was used as the residence of the emperor’s during their visit to Ajmer.
The King (Jahangir) use to come every morning to the Jharokha (Window) and shows himself to the common never refusing the poorest man’s complaints be hear’s with patience both parties. In this fort Sir Thomas Roe, the accredited ambassador of King James I of England presented himself at Jahangir’s court and delivered his first official credentials on Jan., 10th 1615 A.D. This fort is protected by the State Govt. under the provisions of the Rajasthan Monuments, Archaeological sites and Antiquity act.1561.