Jaipur, one of the most tourist-friendly destination would add another attraction for its visitors on the occasion of the World Tourism Day on Sept 27 this year.
A new exhibition gallery at the Sawai Man Singh II Museum is all ready for inauguration. Princess Diya Kumari of Jaipur, also the secretary and trustee of the Museum will do the honours. The gallery will unveil paintings and photographs from the museum’s collections, many of which will be showcased for the first time.
Princess Diya Kumari said: “My family has had a historic responsibility to care for Jaipur’s heritage and so I am extremely happy that this gallery, built by my father, is finally being used the way he wanted. People have been wanting to see more paintings and photographs for a long time because the reputation of the collection is so strong. It has taken hard work by many people, but we have finally done it and I hope our visitors are happy.”
This exhibition is a part of the long term Museum Strategic Plan that the Museum Trust has been working on since 2013, which includes new exhibitions, publications, improved collections management and the renovation of older galleries, among other things. The Museum Trust has collaborated with various experts such as museum consultants, exhibition, lighting and graphic designers, architects as well as conservators to curate this new exhibition.
The City Palace already houses many galleries, which tell the story of the Rajputs maharajas and they way they lived their lives.
The City Palace’s Mubarak Mahal houses the textile gallery, which has on display a majestic collection of royal costumes.
The photographic collections of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum have now been catalogued and archived. They include a collection of nearly 2,000 glass plate negatives dating from the 1860s to the 1880s, from the archive of Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II. Many of these pictures were taken by the Maharaja himself, the most famous of India’s royal photographers.
The Silehkhana gallery of the museum has one of the largest and finest collections of weapons and antique handguns in India. The weapons include various kinds of swords, double edged cutters, daggers, knives, axes and arrows of various shapes. There are three types of guns in the collection – the matchlock, the flintlock and the percussion cap.
Some of the swords in the collection are of historic importance, such as the swords inscribed with the name of Mughal emperors, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. In medieval times, weapons were regarded as prestigious gifts and the Mughal swords were probably gifted to the rulers of Amber-Jaipur. Many personal weapons of the rulers of like Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II, Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II etc are also a part of the collection.
The silehkhana depicts the excellent craftsmanship of not only the Jaipur metal workers but also its artisans.
In Baggi Khana, chariots and coaches (baggies) are displayed. The most interesting amongst these are the 19th century European cab (Victoria Baggi), a gift to Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II from Queen Victoria in 1876 and the Thakurji ka Rath (chariot used for carrying the state religious icon).
The Museum also houses priceless paintings and musical instruments.