Meeras Mahal Museum preserves Kashmiri history, Atiqa Bano's legacy

Sopore (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], August 7 (ANI): Twenty-year-old Meeras Mahal Museum set up by late Atiqa Bano, a renowned educationist of Kashmir in 2001 preserves the identity and depicts the rich history of Kashmir.

Meeras Mahal is the first and biggest private museum that has over a thousand items to display. The collections, mostly collected by late Atiqa Bano during her life include terracotta, woodwork, wicker and grass ware, metal, (including jewellery), stones, manuscripts, ancient ornaments, coins, traditional dresses, and utensils.

During the peak season of tourism, heritage lovers, both locals and outsiders always prefer to visit Meeras Mahal to gain knowledge about the rich past of Kashmir.

Nakul Grover, a B.Ed. student visiting the museum said, "We can see a number of earthen pots and utensils here, which were used in earlier times and are replaced by the utensils we use today. But, Meeras Mahal has kept their history alive."

"We can imagine how simple that time was, how they discovered and innovated things on their own by seeing these artefacts present here. There are jute-based clothes to protect from cold, slippers made from clothes, rattraps, handcuffs and most importantly handloom machines to make clothes present here," he added.

The Museum is home to more than 7000 artefacts that provide an ethnographic lens into the rich cultural heritage of the Kashmir valley. Most of the artefacts are items of daily use that were a common sight in Kashmir until the end of the twentieth century.

Curator of Meeras Mahal, Imtiyaz Ahmad said, "The aim of Meeras Mahal Museum is to preserve the Kashmiri culture and heritage, which is slowly vanishing, for the future generation. Today, the children don't know much about our culture, history, how we lived and how we developed. It is Meeras Mahal's aim and desire to present a picture of our history to them, to make atleast one place where they can learn about it."

"Meeras Mahal is an ethnographic museum where most of the artefacts are items of daily use that were a common sight in Kashmir until the end of the twentieth century are preserved. They used to make everything by themselves including tiles, clothes, coins, utensils and more," he further described.

A number of people including writers, professors, Non-Governmental organizations (NGOs), students and educationists are doing good work to preserve the cultural richness of Kashmir through Meeras Mahal.

Meeras Mahal is situated in Sopore town in Kashmir, also known as apple town of North Kashmir, around forty-five kilometres away from Srinagar city, set up by Atiqa Bano. She worked hard to collect unique and rare things aiming to attract more and more people to this beautiful museum that depicts the rich past of Kashmir. (ANI)