S Ali Durjoy
Varendra Research Museum stands in Hetamkhan, the heart of Rajshahi city, witnessing the history and tradition of thousands of years. One of the archeological museums of South Asia, this museum preserves ancient civilizations of thousands of years including Pala, Sena, Maurya and Gupta periods of Barendra region.
According to history, this museum was established in 1910 with the efforts of the industrialist zamindar Kumar Sarathkumar Roy of the royal family of Dighapati of Natore, the famous lawyer historian Akshay Kumar Maitreya and Ramaprasad Chandra, a teacher of Rajshahi Collegiate School.
The collection of this museum, the first in the country, has traces of the Indus civilization dating back thousands of years. There are archeological artifacts from the Mohenjodaro civilization, stone statues, Buddhist statues built in the 11th century AD, Bhairava’s head, Ganga statue, etc.
Besides, the silver coins of Mughal period, round gold coins of Gupta Emperor Chandragupta, round silver coins of Emperor Shah Jahan will be seen in this museum.
The museum, rich in archeological artifacts, also has about 5,000 mannequins, of which 3,646 are written in Sanskrit and the rest are written in Bengali.
Paintings from the Pala period to the Muslim period, paintings of Noorjahan’s father Imad ud Daula can also be seen there. This museum also has a library with 12 thousand books.
The museum is first divided into 7 exhibition halls. The display room has 256 historical items recovered from Paharpur in Naogaon. The second display room has various wood and stone sculptures made by Hindus and Buddhists.
The third and fourth display rooms have idols of various gods and goddesses. In the fifth display room there is a Buddha statue. The sixth display room contains stone fragments written in different languages. In the seventh display room, the artifacts of various tribal communities are preserved.
With the change of time, the transformation from village to city is the nature of modern rural Bengal. And to present the lost traditions of rural Bengal to the new generation, the Barendra Research Museum has Abhaman Bengali Gallery.
In this gallery there are useful items of the Bengali nation, ancient jewellery, native musical instruments, ceremonial pottery, useful items of the tribes. The model of the boat of riverine Bengal surrounded by Kishloy, the sun of arms spread soft golden sunshine and made the birthland a picture of extraordinary beauty.
The oldest museum is currently managed by Rajshahi University (Rabi). Not only as a museum but also contributing to the study of ancient history.
Every year, apart from domestic and foreign researchers, students, a large number of visitors come to enjoy these archaeological monuments of history and heritage.
Author: Student, Department of History, Rajshahi College.