Agartala: Vice-President Hamid Ansari Wednesday inaugurated the northeast India`s biggest museum at 112-year-old Ujjayanta Palace, Tripura`s royal mansion here.
Set up over 800 acres of land in the capital city, Ujjayanta Palace was the command hub until the erstwhile princely Tripura`s accession to India in October 1949.
"The museum will showcase the lifestyle, arts, culture, tradition and utility crafts, beside the customs and practices of various communities residing in the northeast India," Kishore Ambuly, Tripura`s higher education department secretary, said.
"The state museum will exhibit cultural tradition and perception of spiritual life and rituals, religious beliefs, utility articles and aesthetic creative forms," he said.
The collections displayed in the 22 galleries of the museum include sculptures, terracotta figurines, coins, copper and stone inscriptions, bronze images, textiles, oil paintings, sketches and drawings, tribal ornaments, musical instruments, art and craft objects, folk articles and a number of other antique treasures.
"The sculptures mostly date back from 9th century to 13th century. A low relief Dasavatara panel (in stone) belonging to 18th century is an exquisite piece of local craftsmanship," Ambuly added.
Hamid Ansari accompanied by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and Higher Education Minister Bhanulal Saha appreciated the museum for its rich collection.
A senior official of the Tripura government told reporters, "The two-storeyed Ujjayanta Palace has been made the museum, as per an agreement signed with the erstwhile separatist outfit All Tripura Tribal Force (ATTF) in March 1993."
The Tripura government`s museum, which was established in 1970 at the heart of Agartala city, along with the state archives has also been shifted to the new museum premises.
Ujjayanta Palace, which was purchased from the royal family by the Tripura government in 1972-73 and housed the Tripura legislative assembly until July 2011, was constructed by then Maharaja Radhakishore Manikya Bahadur in 1899-1901.
The palace has three large domes, the largest of which is 86 feet high, and it reflects the combined influence of Mughal, Roman and British architecture.
In July 2011, the Tripura assembly shifted to a newly-built complex on the capital`s outskirts.
Lalit Kala Academy chairman K.K. Chakraborty and experts from various parts of the country have guided the authorities in setting up the museum in the royal palace.