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Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (A Post Colonial), Bhopal

Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (A Post Colonial) Overview

The Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (National Museum of Mankind) is a unique Museum, on the Shamla Hills on the Upper Lake front. It is a postcolonial museum of communities rather than objects. A road leading to Van Vihar branches off uphill to Manav Sangrahalaya - an anthropological institution housing a vast repertoire of tribal and folk arts from across India. Situated on the hill by the side of the Upper Lake, surprisingly an entire fishing village has been replicated towards the lakeside with a black, sleek snake boat from Kerala catching immediate attention. Even its shelter has been designed in an ethnic fashion. Most of it is now covered in wild grass medicinal plants used by the tribals in traditional system of medicine. It is a unique museum spread over 200 acres of undulating land, situated in a prehistoric site and may be the only museum in the world strewn with numerous prehistoric painted rock shelters. It is engaged in recollection rather than collection. This has been curated directly by the folk and tribal communities, camping at site, to create a miniature presentation of Indian folk ways through display of ecospecific habitations and subsistence practices in the tribal, coastal, desert, and Himalayan habitats. The tribals themselves built a hilltop village resembling a tribal hamlet with each shack unique to a tribe from one part of the country or the other with original material. This part of the museum has been put together painstakingly over the years by inviting one tribe at a time. The library, audio-visual archive, computerized documentation and the collection of ethnographic specimens in the Museum, though modest in size are among the best in the world.

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