The land of the Royals, Rajasthan is well known for it's glorious past. Apart from the palatial buildings and the forts they are also famous for their Paintings, Carpets, Toys, Armory, Textiles, Metal and Wood Crafts, Ivory Carvings which all stand as proof of their rich cultural heritage. The Central Museum in Jaipur has an extensive collection of all these items.
The Central Museum is housed in the Albert Hall. The Albert Hall combines the best of Indian and Sarcenic style of architecture and has a very graceful look. This building made of marble and sandstone and modeled on the Victoria Hall in England has several pillars, courtyards and arches which render it a very lofty look.
The Central Museum was designed by Colonel Sir Swinton Jacob in 1876 to greet King Edward VII when he visited India. It was opened for public viewing only in 1886 when Madho Singh decided to convert it into a museum instead of using it as a town hall as his predecessor Maharaja Singh had intended.
This oldest museum of Rajasthan is located in the Ram Niwas Garden in the Jawaharlal Nehru Marg in Jaipur.
One of the most precious possessions of the Central Museum is a Persian carpet that represents the garden of paradise which was purchased from Shah Abbas of Persia by Mirza Raja Jai Singh I . It is also the home of an Egyptian Mummy that can be dated to the Ptolemaic era.
A lot of renovation activities were undertaken in the year 1959 and the galleries of the ground floor were given a completely new look. The Central gallery of the ground floor will surely be the most interesting part of the museum for all music lovers because it has a collection of Rajasthani folk as well as classical musical instruments.
As we all know the Rajasthanis are a very colorful people and that is most evident in the kind of clothes that they wear. The Central Museum has on display the costumes and jewellery of all of them including the royals and the tribals.
The art of decorating the body with traditional Henna designs is popularly known as Mehendi Mandana. There is a gallery in the Central Museum which is totally devoted to this art.
The Central Museum is also the home of a horse skeleton, a human skeleton and a stuffed cobra. Several other rare collections of the Central Museum include sculptures of a tiny turbaned lady which can be dated to the 2 nd century B.C. and a stone Shiva head which can be dated to the 8 th century.
Portraits of Rajasthani rulers are found in the upper floor of the museum. Many brass wares can be found. It also exhibits beautiful miniature paintings of Jaipur, Udaipur, Kota and Bundi schools of painting.