World's first Sri Chaitanya museum to be ready in 42 months

Kolkata, Sep 16 : Work on the world's first museum devoted to Hindu saint Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, foundation of which was laid here by President Pranab Mukherjee Monday, will begin next month and be completed in three and a half years, the Gaudiya Mission said.

The four-storeyed museum building with a floor space of 1,320 square metres, is coming up on a 15-acre plot set aside by the mission at Baghbazar in north Kolkata.

"A budget of Rs.10 crore-12 crore has been set aside for the project. World will begin next month and be completed in three and a half years," said a Mission official.

"We feel this is a befitting tribute to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu on the occasion of his 525th birth anniversary. This is the world's first museum on the saint with modern communication methods, and it will collect, preserve and disseminate archival literature of the Sri Chaitanya cult," said Mission president Bhakti Surhid Prabrajika Goswami Maharaj.

The activities of the museum will include educating the public on the teachings of Sri Chaitanya aimed at developing a value-based and peaceful society.

"We also aim to disseminate knowledge through rare litertures, music, danc and art forms to sudnets, researchers and scholars," said Goswami Maharaj.

Planned and designed by former National Council of Science Museums director general Saroj Ghosh and renwoened architect Gopal Mitra, the museum will be in three sections exhibiting the saint's personal memorabilia, collections, artefacts, manuscripts, rare books and pictures.

"The museum has been designed on the model of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on New York's Fifth Avenue, which was conceived a temple of spirit," said Mitra, one of the planners of New York's Twin Towers.

The museum will also showcase establishments centred around Sri Chaitanya.

Besides, it will have an auditorium,an archive, premises for library, research centre, space theate - accommodating up to 50 people - as well as a cafeteria.

There will be guided tours, special training programmes for students on debates, painting, music, dance, and lectures on the saint and his philosophy.

It will offer short courses on Sanskrit, and hold regular cultural programmes. There will be a strong focus on Vedic cosmology.

"A manuscript-based digital archive, comprising unique artefacts and manuscripts, a restoration laboratory for preserving the manuscripts and a cyber-library will be among the salient features," said the Mission president.

The Gaudiya Misssion, a spiritual and philanthropic organisation founded in March, 940, propagates the teachings of Sri Chaitanya and the Vaishnava faith. It has a number of centres in India, and temples in London and New York.

--IANS (Posted on 16-09-2013)

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