Architectural marvels from different communities: Tribal Habitat, “a laboratory for various practical experiences” (National Museum of Mankind, IGRMS Bhopal) – Madhya Pradesh

This exhibitions includes the unique dwelling types of architectural marvels from different tribal communities from the Gangetic plains of Uttaranchal, lush green forest areas of North-east India, the arid region of western India, plateau region of central India, hilly tracts of eastern India, the Nilgiri (blue-mountain) tracts of South western India etc. Presently, there are about forty house-types, youth dormitories, shrines and other centres of cultural interactions clustered together in this section. These dwellings represent the Warli community of Maharashtra, Kutia Kondh, Saora and Gadaba communities of Orissa, Rathwa and Chodhri [Chaudhari] tribes of Gujarat, Bodo Kachari, Mishing and Karbi tribes of Assam, Agaria and Bhil communities of Mahya Pradesh, Kars and Rajwars of Chhattisgarh, Santal tribe of Jharkhand, Jatapu tribe of Andhra Pradesh, Bhumij from West Bengal, Tangkhul and Kabui Nagas from Manipur, Chakhesang Naga of Nagaland, Reang tribe of Tripura, and Toda and Kota communities of Tamil Nadu.

Today, ‘Tribal Habitat’ is one of the important exhibition premises, spread over about forty acres of land, which attracts large number of visitors to the Museum. For researchers engaged in architecture, tribal art and religion, conservation techniques, graphic art, as well as administrative planners, the Tribal Habitat of IGRMS is a laboratory for various practical experiences.

Source: Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya | इन्दिरा गांधी राष्ट्रीय मानव संग्रहालय
Date Visited: Mon Nov 07 2016 18:34:28 GMT+0100 (CET)

Location : Museum lies in a prehistoric landscape. It is located at Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh in the central province of India.
By Air – Bhopal is air-linked with flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderaba, Kolkata and Indore.
By Rail -Being located in Central India, Bhopal is directly connected to major metro-cities of India like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkotta, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

Source: Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya | इन्दिरा गांधी राष्ट्रीय मानव संग्रहालय
Date Visited: Mon Nov 07 2016 18:31:04 GMT+0100 (CET)

Travelling Exhibition

Periodical & Travelling Exhibition- To demonstrate the simultaneous validity of human cultures and the plurality of alternative for human articulation museum started mounting special periodical/ travelling exhibitions in year 1984 by preparing a periodical exhibition depicting the emergence of patterns of culture. “Yatra”- the journey of humankind was the first travelling exhibition in this series which was mounted in New Delhi during the Science Congress in 1986. So far 200 periodical and travelling exhibitions on various themes of anthropology, art, architecture etc. have been mounted at Bhopal as well as other places. The museum has also mounted exhibition abroad which included photographic exhibition on Life and culture of Rabari – a semi nomadic community of India mounted in Hungry and Rock art of India in Italy.

A new Chapter in the series of travelling exhibitions has been developed with mounting up of the one object exhibition entitled ‘Paubi Lai’ the story of gaint python in the National Museum, New Delhi and in the Indian Museum, Kolkata.

Source: Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya | इन्दिरा गांधी राष्ट्रीय मानव संग्रहालय
Date Visited: Mon Nov 07 2016 18:42:59 GMT+0100 (CET)

In IGRMS we have categorized our collection in 17 functional categories of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Art and Craft, Basketry, Fishing, Games & Amusement, Household, Hunting, Musical, Narcotics, Ornament, Ritual, Spinning & Weaving, Textile, Travel & Transport, Tools and Weapons. | Learn more >>

About us

Any exploration of India’s greatest museum is incomplete without a visit to the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya, Bhopal. The Museum lies in a prehistoric landscape with evidences of prehistoric human settlement in its premises at Bhopal- the capital city of Madhya Pradesh. Covering an area of about 200 acres of undulating terrain in the Shamla Hills, it is one of the largest and leading Anthropological Museums in India. Aesthetically curated Open Air Exhibitions components with the most enduring Indoor Exhibitions, it promises to live up to the expectations of Museum visitors. This Museum depicts the story of mankind in time and space. It offers opportunity to explore the most subtle but artistic sensibilities of the rich Indian culture and heritage through its appealing exhibitions. It has 8 (eight) open air exhibitions and 12 indoor galleries. Impressive periodical and travelling exhibitions of the Museum on various topics are highly receptive and friendly to the visitors. Moreover, Museum activities of this Museum are designed to make informative, educative and entertaining. A visitor’s friendly environment with improvised form of interactive displays offers a new taste to a Museum visit. Education Programmes, Workshops, Seminars, Symposia, Group discussions. Conferences, Cultural Programmes, Regional, Cultural festivals, Lectures, Artists camps, etc. are some of the regular activities. Museum Outreach Activities ranging from artists camps and cultural exchange programmes to the organisation of grand community oriented cultural festivals are some of the community friendly activities of the Museum. The Reference Library of IGRMS provides abundant research opportunities for students, researchers, designers, film makers etc. and it is an important source of documentation for the university community and Museum professionals.

Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS)/ (National Museum of Mankind), an autonomous organization of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, began functioning since March, 1977 as a ‘Subordinate Office’ of the Department of Culture, at New Delhi. By early 1979, the establishment was shifted to Bhopal on allotment of a 200 acre campus by the State Government of Madhya Pradesh. The status of the Museum was converted from the ‘Subordinate Office’ into an Áutonomous Organisation in March 1985, and the ‘Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya Samiti’ was entrusted to control and supervise the programmes and activities of the Sangrahalaya. Subsequently as an extention of the Sangrahalaya, Southern Regional Centre at Mysore started functioning since October, 2001 from a heritage building ‘Wellington House’ allotted by the Government of Karnataka. The mandate of the Sangrahalaya include: presentation of an integrated story of bio-cultural evolution of humankind through outdoor and indoor exhibitions by highlighting the richness and diversity of cultural patterns of India and its underlying unity; to act as a centre of research and training in museology and generate a new museum movement in India and to present and preserve variety of cultural life. IGRMS is also working for national integration, and promote research & training and inter-organizational networking for salvage and revitalization of vanishing, but valuable cultural traditions. The innovative aspects of the organisation are its open-air and indoor exhibitions, built with active involvement of traditional artisans and experts drawn from different community groups, and the education, outreach & salvage activities in different parts of the country. Through its exhibitions, education programmes and salvage activities, IGRMS demonstrates the aesthetic qualities of India’s traditional life styles, and the continued relevance of local traditional knowledge and mores of people to the modern society and cautions the people against unprecedented destruction of ecology and environment, local values and customs. The programmes and activities of the organisation are carried out under three sub-schemes namely: 1. Infrastructure Development : (Development of Museum Complex), 2. Education and Outreach Programme and 3. Operation Salvage.

Source: Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya | इन्दिरा गांधी राष्ट्रीय मानव संग्रहालय
Date Visited: Mon Nov 07 2016 18:44:57 GMT+0100 (CET)

THE Indian Museum in Kolkata was the first public museum in India and was established in 1814. Thereafter, several museums of varied interests were established across the country. Astonishingly, however, the state of museums in India today has not really progressed too far from the days of their inception some two centuries ago.

There are several reasons for this, but primarily one can attribute it to the fact that the age-old traditional approach to museums has continued unchanged; there has been complete indifference on the part of government towards museums; and finally, even though the collections in these museums have expanded significantly over the years, hardly any attention has been paid to questions of conservation, curatorial and collection research, or exhibitions and educational services. And, apart from a few exceptions, museums have failed to publish any literature or articles on their collections or related subjects. Thus, even 75 years after Independence, the approach to museum administration has remained largely unchanged. […]

The beginnings

The concept of public museums originated in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries with the conservative outlook to study and preserve the cultural heritage of mankind, but with the passage of time, it gradually transformed into a mass movement for access to national and world art and culture. The establishment of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, the British Museum in London, and the Louvre in France encouraged those with a progressive outlook to study the repository of antiquities of the ancient world as the collective cultural property of mankind.

It was this concept that encouraged European antiquarians and orientalists to look at India’s cultural heritage from the oriental study and research point of view. It was Sir William Jones, an exceptional, cultivated, and informed mind, who, as a necessary first step towards the accomplishment of Oriental studies, gathered around him a band of enthusiastic antiquarians through whose active collaboration he was able to establish the first oriental study and research institute in Calcutta on January 15, 1784, the Asiatic Society, an institute that engaged many disciplines under social sciences and humanities and later gave birth to the Indian Museum.

Thereafter, a number of museums of varied interests were established in different places, but they did not receive the attention and patronage of the then British government. […]

The question in the Indian context then is, how does a museum re-establish a new identity in contemporary society? How do we learn to read and understand our history?

Museums today are no longer seen as mere repositories of antiquities but are considered cultural and social spaces, centres for education, and civic spaces for social interaction. Museums play a direct role in preserving and enriching the community in which they are sustained. […]

During the pandemic, museums realised that the preservation of cultural heritage was arguably one of the biggest challenges for contemporary societies. In fact, it is similar to other great challenges such as fostering a society’s good health or ensuring environmental sustainability. It is indeed true that the preservation of the tangible and intangible heritage of mankind and the dissemination of knowledge will depend not only on the community of professionals but also on an informed and interested public.

A young visitor to “India and the World” wrote in the visitors’ book: “Exquisite curation, equally impressive research process, the efforts to state this timely message about not simply understanding the past in order to reconsider our present and future, but acknowledging how chronology, time, and space are wonderfully complicated. The more we see and look and give into our curiosities that are unknown, what is uncomfortable—this is the idea.” The comment gives us enough indication of the high expectations this generation has from cultural institutions, museums, and galleries. […]

Source: “Museums are needed to preserve cultural heritage” by Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Frontline Magazine, 14 December 2022
Date Visited: 15 February 2023

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

Dr. Rashneh Pardiwala © Alexis Agliano Sanborn/Asia Society >>

“The recent trend is to use exotic species for manicured lawns and gardens. This means indigenous species are losing even more space, and our local species decline with them. New lifestyle patterns are also changing things. For example, India’s urban sparrow population has dipped. Even growing up, sparrows were as common as a crow or a pigeon. But now they’ve almost disappeared. Why? For one thing, our architecture is changing, and building facades no longer offer nesting sites. Even the old grain shops, which used to have grain strewn in the road, have turned into packaged super markets. Suddenly, you have an entire species disappearing because you’ve taken away its food source, habitat, and flight path.” – Rashneh Pardiwala, Centre for Environmental Research and Education (CERE) in Mumbai (Asia Blog, 27 July 2015)

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See also



Central region – Central Zonal Council

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Cultural heritage | Customs

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List of scheduled tribes by the Commissioner of Tribal Development – Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh

Museum collections – India

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