Bharat Kala Bhavan
There is nowhere in India one can find a beautiful combination of a university and a world-class museum. To witness it, one has to visit Bharat Kala Bhavan built inside the campus of BHU (Banaras Hindu University), Varanasi. The Bhavan was inaugurated in January 1920. It has religiously preserved India’s heritage of art and artefacts. It boasts of seven huge galleries named as Mahamana Malviya Gallery, Nicholas Roerich Gallery, Nidhi Gallery, Chhavi Gallery, Archaeological Gallery, Decorative Art Gallery, and Sculpture Gallery. The credit to lay the foundation of such a renowned museum goes to a well-known writer from the field of Hindi literature and a pioneer of Indian art and history — Padmavibhushan Late Rai Krishnadasa.
It was started with a modest collection of artefacts. Today it houses over 100,000 pieces of rare collection of historical importance. The episode of Lord Krishna lifting a mountain with his one hand is beautifully enacted through a huge statue of a man inside the main hall. The man is seen standing on one leg with one hand on his hip, and another one lifting a mass of stone above his head. The seven galleries hold display of Mughal miniatures, manuscripts, paintings, bronze statues, Hindu and Buddhist sculptures, old stamps, metal craft, ivory items, jewellery, pottery, terracotta beads, and rare miniature paintings of Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Hilly regions. It is one of the well-maintained museums in India and provides a deep insight on the lifestyle of ancient, medieval, and current time art and paintings of Varanasi.
The Bharat Kala Museum came under the administration of BHU in 1950. Many dignitaries from the field of politics, art, and literature have visited it since then. Every eminent personality who visited the museum was mesmerized by its unique collections. The expression and comment of each person have been inscribed and still preserved. Mahatma Gandhi was so pleased with the display of the museum that he appealed to all the art lovers of India through his journal ‘Young India’ in 1941 to contribute generously for the progress of the museum, either in cash, or by donating antics.
The foundation of the present building was laid by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, and it was donated to the nation in 1962. The museum is regularly visited by university students, history scholars, and lovers of the arts. It is open for visitors from Monday to Saturday from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm.