Agartala: Good museums are an invaluable source of history and heritage, Vice President Hamid Ansari said here Wednesday after inaugurating northeast India`s biggest museum at the 112-year-old Ujjayanta Palace, Tripura`s royal mansion, here.
"Museums provide a wealth of information and required resources for academics, researchers and students of history, apart from helping the general economy by generating revenue and employment through promotion of tourism," Ansari said.
The vice president said it is befitting that Tripura now has an important museum in such an impressive heritage building. The Ujjayanta Palace once housed the royal families of Tripura, and later the state legislative assembly. It will now stand as a memorial to the region`s glorious past, the vice president said.
Hamid Ansari, accompanied by Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and state Higher Education Minister Bhanulal Saha, later took in the sights at the museum, and appreciated the richness of the exhibits in its collection.
"The museum has embraced a new approach towards exhibits, having adopted a broader national perspective while remaining focused on Tripura and northeast India. Given the cultural exchanges and intermingling of various cultures of the sub-continent and beyond over the centuries, this is a commendable step forward," the vice president remarked.
"The museum is also expected to serve as a centre for active research and cultural activities which will link culture and heritage to the broader aspect of human development in the present-day context. These are welcome steps and must be applauded," Ansari said.
Chief Minister Sarkar said that more valuable artifacts would be collected for the museum from various parts of the country and abroad.
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 northeast India," Kishore Ambuly, Tripura`s higher education department secretary, told IANS.
"The state museum will exhibit cultural traditions and the perception of spiritual life and rituals, religious beliefs, utility articles and aesthetic creative forms," he said.
The collection 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.
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 erstwhile royal palace.
Ujjayanta Palace, purchased from the royal family by the Tripura government in 1972-73 for Rs.25 lakh, housed the state legislative assembly till July 2011. It was constructed between 1899 and 1901 by then Tripura king, Maharaja Radhakishore Manikya Bahadur.