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Bhuri Singh Museum in Chamba

Bhuri Singh Museum in Chamba

There is no doubt that the city of Chamba and its adjoining area is a veritable treasure house for regional art and culture. This is partly due to the fact that in the bygone days the economy of this region depended more of handicrafts than on agriculture. The ruling clan of Chamba was also great patron of art and culture. More importantly, thanks to its secluded location, the area has remained free from enemy aggression for more than thousand years. Consequently, there has not been any vandalism or theft of art and artifacts in this region. However, they lay scattered and unprotected all over the district until Dr. J. Ph. Vogel took notice of them.

Setting up of Bhuri Singh Museum in Chamba

Dr. J. Ph. Vogel was an Indologist, who explored every nook and corner of the district from 1902 to 1905. He collected a large sample of inscriptions, engraved both on stone and metal. On examination, he found them to be valuable evidence of the history of Chamba and realized that they need immediate protection not only from unfavorable climatic condition, but also from modern day vandalism. Accordingly, he talked to the then king, Raja Bhuri Singh and convinced him of the danger faced by the cultural heritage of the state.  Influenced by this discourse, the king agreed to donate a public building beside the Chowgan for setting up a museum. He also donated his entire collection of inherited paintings to it. Dr. Vogel also played a constructive role in the establishment of the museum. The museum, which today bears the name of Raja Bhuri Singh, was opened on 14th September, 1908.

Collections in Bhuri Singh Museum in Chamba

Collections in Bhuri Singh Museum Chamba

Today, Bhuri Singh Museum in Himachal Pradesh houses more than 5800 artifacts. These are mainly related to the art and culture of Chamba. However, few also represent the art and artifacts from other regions. All these work of art is now classified under following collections:
  • Pahari Miniature Paintings
  • Murals
  • Sculptures
  • Bronze Statues
  • Fountain Stone Slabs
  • Copper and Silver Plates
  • Historical Documents
  • Manuscripts
  • Coins
  • Ornaments
  • Arms and Armors
  • Ritual Objects
  • Decorative Cultural Anthropology
  • Wood Carvings
  • Textile
  • Ornaments

Galleries in Bhuri Singh Museum in Chamba

Galleries in Bhuri Singh Museum Chamba

The above mentioned objects are today displayed in seven different galleries. They are Chambal Art Gallery, Archeology Gallery, Pahari Painting Gallery, Chamba History Gallery, Old Photograph Gallery, Numismatic Gallery and Anthropology Gallery. Let us next look into each of them.

Chamba Art Gallery in Bhuri Singh Museum Chamba

Chamba Art Gallery is located in the ground floor of the museum. Here you can see different artifacts belonging to different era. Apart from Chamba rumals, which are famed for their intricate designs depicting scenes from different folklores, this section displays wall paintings retrieved from Rang Mahal Palace, armors belonging to ancient period, bronze statues, wooden panels and even a few miniature paintings. In short, the gallery provides a glimpse into the evolution of art and culture in Chamba and how they have been influenced by Kashmiri art.

Archeology Gallery in Bhuri Singh Museum in Chamba

The Archeology Gallery displays different archeological finds such as stone sculptures, memorial stones and terracotta objects. These artifacts have been found in different parts of Chamba and represent different era in its long history. Among these, the memorial stones, also referred as fountain stones, are the most important. They were mostly found near water sources and were engraved with different types of interesting motifs. More importantly, the inscriptions on them provide a good idea about the political history and economic condition of that particular era. 

Pahari Painting Gallery in Bhuri Singh Museum Chamba

Pahari Painting Gaery in Bhuri Singh Museum

This gallery showcases Pahari miniature paintings and epigraphic records of Chamba. While Chamba miniature paintings gets predominance here, this section also displays fine example of other Pahari school of art such as Kangra, Guler and Basholi. 

Chamba History Gallery in Bhuri Singh Museum

This gallery displays different copper plates, stone inscriptions as well as important archival records related to the history of Chamba. Some of these date back to one thousand years and are mostly inscribed in Sharda and Takri scripts. They together help us to stitch up the history of Chamba. Some of the paper documents found in the archives of the Rajas help us to understand their relation with other rulers of the area.

Other Galleries in Bhuri Singh Museum in Chamba

Inside Bhuri Singh Museum Chamba

In addition, there is the Old Photograph Gallery, which showcases old photographs of Chamba in its heydays. The Numismatic Gallery displays coins of ancient and medieval period in chronological order. The last, but equally important is the Anthropological Gallery. Dresses and utensils used by the tribal people, as well as jewelry, textile, musical instruments of anthropological value are exhibited in this gallery.

Facilities offered by Bhuri Singh Museum in Chamba

Apart from displaying different artifacts Bhuri Singh Museum offers many other facilities related to culture of the district. For example, it houses a reference library, a conference hall, an exhibition hall and also a sale counter for its in house publications. The books published by the museum can be purchased by sending multi city cheque (MCC), payable in favor of the Curator, Bhuri Singh Museum, Chamba at the following address: 

Contact Details of Bhuri Singh Museum Chamba

Following is the contact details of Bhuri Singh Museum in Chamba

Bhuri Singh Museum Chamba

Chowgan Mohalla
Post Office: Chamba 
District: Chamba
State: Himachal Pradesh
Pin Code: 176310
Phone & Fax:  01899-222590
Email:  bhurisinghmuseumchamba@gmail.com

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