GUJRAT: The historical Ram Pyari Mahal has been formally converted into a museum. It was inaugurated on Monday and is now also open to the public.
The chief minister’s adviser on tourism Chaudhry Asif Mehmood inaugurated the museum at a ceremony here which was also participated by Archaeology Secretary Ehsan Bhutta, Archaeology Director General Ilyas Gill, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Saif Anwar Jappa and District Police Officer Umar Salamat.
Various galleries about the Indus and Gandhara civilisations, ethnological and miscellaneous items have been established in the museum out of which four were decorated with artefacts while some also display coins, weaponry, jewellery and other items.
The industry gallery is decorated with locally manufactured products, particularly pottery, which is a famous sector in Gujrat. The picture gallery has portraits of three recipients of the Nishan-i-Haider belonging to Gujrat as well as singer Shaukat Ali, poet Sharif Kunjahi and others.
Another gallery depicts the local art and culture such as folklore of Sohni Mahiwal, masons and labourers at work, mud houses in villages, old locks and utensils. The participants of the ceremony took keen interest in this gallery.
The DC said the entry to the museum would be free till April 30 after which the visitors will have to pay nominal charges. Study tours of students would also be organised once schools and colleges reopened after the lockdown.
Speaking at the ceremony, the tourism adviser said the archaeology department had been working on the preservation and rehabilitation of at least 35 historical buildings in Punjab for the promotion of tourism. The Punjab government had also been preparing legislation to give more autonomy to the existing museums to empower their management to take decisions with more freedom.
He said the primary purpose of establishment of the museum was to create awareness among the young generation about the history of this region.He said a week ago, another museum had been inaugurated in Kalar Kahar area of Chakwal as per the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.
Ram Pyari was the third wife of Sundar Das Chopra, a contractor of Dingah Town -- about 55 kilometres from Gujrat, who got this building constructed for his wife in the second decade of the 20th century. The road that passes by the building was previously known as Ram Pyari Road, but was later renamed Circular Road and now passes by the Sohni Bazaar of pottery and ceramics in the Walled City.
Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2021