As the tourist season begins in Rajasthan from September and stretches on till March, the state is getting ready to welcome visitors. One of the tourist-friendly measures taken is the option of Night tourism for visitors.
Various museums and even the world famous Amer Palace is now open for tourists at night. Albert Hall Museum for the first time in its history of over 128 years, would now be open for tourists at night
Located in Jaipur’s Ram Niwas Garden, Albert Hall is the oldest museum in the city. When Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II laid the foundation of this museum in 1876 during the visit of Prince of Wales, Albert Edward, it wasn’t decided what use would it be put to. It was designed just to greet the prince.
Maharaja Ram Singh wanted this building to be known as the town hall, but his successor wanted the museum to be known for the art of Jaipur. In 1880 Maharaja Madho Singh II approved a suggestion by Dr Thomas Holbein Hendley, the resident surgeon to open a museum of industrial arts to display products of local craftsmen.
Albert Hall was completed in 1887 by architect Samuel Swinton Jacob, director of Jaipur PWD. The building itself became an integral part of display, its Indo-Saracenic architecture and stone ornamentation became a source of reference for varied classical Indian styles of design from Mughal to Rajput. The museum is designed same as the Victoria and Albert Museum located in London. The building and the assortment beholds the beauty of the sight along with the pillars. The courtyards and the arches of the museum are worth seeing.
This museum houses around 19,000 historic objects and has various collections like metal ware, ivory work, lacquer work, jewelry, textiles, pottery carved wooden objects, arms and weapons, clay models , sculptures, educational, scientific and zoological objects, tribal costumes, ceramics, oil and miniature paintings, inlay work, musical instruments, clocks and marble statues.
The museum also has an assortment of rare articles on its display like priceless Persian carpets and an Egyptian mummy that belongs to the Ptolemaic Epoch.
The mummy is that of Tutu, a teenaged girl who was a member of a priest’s family belonging to the Ptolemaic period in Egypt (322 BC to 30 BC).
Tutu’s mummy was once beautifully embellished. A gilded mask painted in gold, black and white covers its face and neck. A few inches below the mask is the painted wsekh, a cloth covering the entire chest area. A large winged scarab beetle is painted on top of the wsekh and a painted necklace adorns the lower part.
There are also decorative figures of gods and goddesses painted in yellow, white, red and black.
This mummy, one of only six in India, came to the country in 1883 when it was “gifted” by Brughsch Bey of the Museum of Cairo for an exhibition in “Jeypore”.
The mummy placed in a hall with a high ceiling and a sunroof, is indeed the star attraction of this museum.
Author Rudyard Kipling on a visit to the museum was so impressed by its architecture, woodwork and display of exhibits and cleanliness that he wrote; “It is now a rebuke to all other museums in India from Calcutta downwards.”