Anand Niketan Kirtishala in Howrah
Anand Niketan Kirtishala under the parent body of Anand Niketan, was established in the year of 1962 in Bagnan, in the district of Howrah, by a few extraordinary gentlemen. Sri Tarapada Santra and Sri Amal Kumar Ganguly were at the helm of affairs among these gentlemen. They had a vision of reconstructing the rural area and uplifting the society as a whole. Anand Niketan has been carrying out a number of social service initiatives in Bagnan and its neighbouring areas ever since its inception. The local people have benefitted a lot as a result of this. There are educational initiatives for the children of the area and they gain a lot out of this as well. Institutes like Anand Niketan are required in more numbers in today’s world because of the multi-faceted service it provides to the society.
Anand Niketan Kirtishala is a museum set up by the Anand Niketan officials with the intention of introducing the rural people of the area to the historical and cultural heritage of Bengal. This museum is truly one of its kinds. The common people of the villages are enriched as a result of this museum. This is a very unique initiative from Anand Niketan as a museum is not usually found to be established as a social service initiative. The traditional background of Bengal that has led to the present day Bengal is something that the rural people need to know of, according to the founders of this museum. This museum acts as a source of informal education for the rural people who do not have access to much educational resources. The different items displayed from various historical eras are a testimony to the rich past of Bengal.
The Museum Name:Usually a museum of this kind is known as a ‘Sangrahashala’ in Bengal since ‘Sangrahashala’ is the Bengali word for ‘Museum’. However, famous anthropologist Prof Nirmal Kumar Bose suggested that the word ‘Kirtishala’ would be more apt, since the items are a testimony to the achievements of our ancestors in Bengal. ‘Kirti’ means ‘Achievement’ in Bengali. So the museum came to be known as Anand Niketan Kirtishala.
There were some definite objectives behind setting up this museum. Among them the foremost was to impart education and knowledge to the rural folk through the items displayed in the museum. Various antiquities and historical objects were to be exhibited in this museum. The museum would play a role in preserving the traditional items and relics from the archaeological past. Another objective was to help the researchers who were researching on the local history and archaeology of the region. The museum would provide valuable resources for them. The last objective was to publish journals and other publications on a regular basis for the benefit of the local people.
Objectives of Anand Niketan Kirtishala
There are a large number of items in the collection of the museum. The majority of the items have been collected from unknown sites that are not mentioned. However during the items which have been there since the inception of the museum are from various parts of Bengal. This archaeological artefacts and historical items have been preserved very well in this museum for a long time. There are 8 galleries in the museum.
Collection at Anand Niketan Kirtishala
Early TerracottaThe museum has a collection of terracotta objects which have been collected from archaeological sites in the southern part of Bengal. The objects date back to the period of the Mauryas, Sungas and Kusans. The terracotta objects are rather beautiful depicting various female and male forms along with a large number of different animals. The objects give the visitors an idea about the life of people during those ancient periods.
Several sculptures are displayed in this museum which date back to the early medieval and medieval eras. These sculptures have been found from parts of Howrah, Midnapore and Purulia district of Bengal.
Sculptures from the Medieval Period
The sculptures depict various forms of Goddess Durga and Lord Vishnu. There are sculptures showing the Jain Tirthankaras as well. The sculptures give an idea of the expertise of the sculptors of the Pala period.
Anthropology of Anand NiketanThis is a new gallery that has been set up in the museum a few years back. The cultural and biological evolution of mankind since pre-historic times has been illustrated very nicely in this section. There are models of human beings from different eras of evolution. This is a very popular section among the people. Fossil evidences have been displayed as well. The gallery enumerates the evolution various cultural aspects of human beings over the years as well. The artefacts from the Indus Valley Civilization among others depict that human beings were an intelligent race even during that time as well. The weapons, tools, ornaments from that period of time show the technical expertise and aesthetics of the human race much before the age of science and technology.
Gallery on DollsThis gallery depicts the handicrafts of Bengal from an earlier period. The local artisans used different types of materials to make toys and dolls. The beliefs and customs of the rural folk from various parts of Bengal are also reflected through these items.
The Chitrakar community of Bengal, also known as the Patuas display various historical myths through the scrolls that they paint as well as their recitals. They provide entertainment to the rural folk through these shows. In this gallery of the museum, various painted scrolls are displayed which are a testimony to the expertise of the rural artisans and craftsmen in the field of Handicrafts.
Various episodes from the great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata are displayed through the painted scrolls.
Other ObjectsThere are a lot of other objects on display in the museum as well. There are beautiful folk paintings from various parts of Bengal. Other items of handicrafts like Kantha or quilt, paper cuttings, masks are displayed.
The Anand Niketan Kirtishala is a really amazing place to be and it plays a crucial role in creating awareness among the rural folk about the heritage of the land.
Contact Anand Niketan Kirtishala
P.O. Bagnan, Howrah
West Bengal, Pin code: 711303
Phone number: 9732556998
Timings: The museum remains open from Monday to Sunday between 11 AM to 5 PM.