A nondescript placard on the wall reads: “Buddhist Stupa, 2nd Century BC, Bharhut, Madhya Pradesh.”
I turn around and almost knock into a magnificent red sandstone 9-feet high railing and 23-feet high gateway, teetering in awe at its grandeur and proximity. It is covered profusely with intricate imagery of secular life and Buddhist teachings in 2nd Century BC India. Short inscribed labels in Brahmi script record the names of donors.
The monumental piece is nothing short of breathtaking. Much like everything else in the archaeology gallery of India’s oldest and largest museum, the Indian Museum located just around the corner of Park Street, Kolkata, and built in 1878 by the then British Raj.
Arranged in chronological rather than thematic order, the gallery showcases 1,500 years of India’s sculpture art, from which emanate its various schools and inter-linkages, in a seamless story.
Piqued? Come join me on a virtual tour of this collection under whirring fans, encased in a hot humid corridor in a Doric columned colonial edifice. 🙂 Continue reading