Shillong: President Pranab Mukherjee visited here the Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures, among Asia`s largest museums displaying a collection of tribal artifacts and the culture of the northeastern region. He said it was "an enriching experience".
"The visit to this museum is rewarding. It is an enriching experience. The rich acculturation of tribal artifacts has been displayed beautifully depicting the distinct yet composite culture of the northeastern region of our country," Mukherjee remarked in the museum`s visitor book.
The President visited the Museum Monday night after visiting the Rabindranath Tagore Art Gallery at Brookeside bungalow. The Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore began writing his `Shesher Kobita` in 1919 here in undivided Assam. Tagore had visited Shillong thrice - in 1919, 1923 and 1927.
Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures is a seven-floor museum that showcases the cultures of the indigenous people of India`s northeastern states, including Sikkim, presented in 17 galleries, with 56,000 square feet floor space and 15,154 square feet of display wall space.
"Amidst diversity the trend of unity are clearly visible, linking us with our neighbours. This museum is a work of art culture with scientific skills. Indeed a thrilling and enriching culture with scientific skills," Mukherjee said.
Several dignitaries, including former president APJ Abdul Kalam, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and union ministers have visited the museum in the past.
"It has been a very successful visit in the sense that the president was very interested in seeing the gallery especially the Religion and Cultural gallery, where he spent almost 15 minutes," Joseph Puthenpurackal, a Catholic priest and director of the museum, said.
The museum also has a gallery named "Our Neighbours" which aims at showcasing the cultures of the five neighbouring countries of India`s northeastern states -- China, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
On the top floor of the museum, a 76-metre skywalk provides visitors a 360 degree view of Shillong, the Meghalaya capital city.
He said the main door of the museum contains carvings that symbolise the rich traditions of the northeast."Over the door is a Khasi (a tribal group in Meghalaya) shield and a pair of Khasi swords representing the undaunted spirit of the tribal warriors," the museum`s director explained.
The museum houses a vast collection of rare photographs dating back 60 years, showing life over the years in tribal villages in the northeast. Puthenpurackal said the museum will soon add a gallery that depicts the culture and tradition of 300 tribes and sub-tribes of the northeast.
The museum was inaugurated by Congress president Sonia Gandhi March 5, 2010.