Friday, 7 September 2018

Watson Museum, Rajkot, Gujarat - a popular place to visit

Watson Museum, Gujarat.
Watson Museum, Rajkot , Gujarat.
If you have ample time, it is nice to visit the  Jubilee Gardens where the Watson Museum, Rajkot is set in the midst of the beautiful lush greenery.  The Watson Museum is a popular museum patronized by the Gaekwad ruling dynasty. Presently, 
it is being managed by the Gujarat Government, the museum is believed to be one of the best among the seven such museums located across Saurashtra region.It was Watson, the British Political Agent in Kathiwad, who made an in-depth study of historical artifacts with the due patronage of the royal families in the region and initiated the documentation of his detailed work. So, it is quite appropriate that the museum is named after him in his honor. It has excellent collections of precious objects from the princely State of Rajkot founded by the Jadeja Rajputs.  The collection houses nice paintings and artifacts donated by the various royal families, an extensive memorabilia of Colonial rule and attractive textiles and jewelry depicting the traditions of Bharwads, Ahirs, Darbars and other indigenous people of the province. There is also an interesting collection of Indus Valley Civilization artifacts collected from various sites around the Saurashtra region. The 13th-century carvings, temple statues/idols, costumes and design of the houses of the local tribal people are quite interesting. The Watson Museum also houses an excellent collection of traditional, archaeological items and coins. Also included are invaluable articles, artifacts, photographs, a reference library. The museum has many publications to its credit and they are available for sale at the museum's counter.  It was extended and renovated by Maharajah Sayajirao Gaekwad III, continuing the legacy and tradition of his royal family. Yet another fact is part of the palace is being used as a training school called No.17 Tetra School by the Indian Air Force.
Queen Victoria, Watson Museum, Gujarat.
The museum is in the Queen Victoria memorial institute buildings located in Jubilee Garden, Rajkot. Col. Watson, who, after whom the Museum is named, was the British Political Agent of Kathiawar Agency from 1881 to 1889. The museum was named in fond memory of Colonel John Watson in 1888. He developed a passion for history and archaeology and in the course of his long stay herehe had made vast collections of artifacts, etc., of historical importance related to Gujarat and its ruling classes and they are all well preserved here.  The museum building was completed in 1893, and opened to the public by Governor Lord George Harris of Bombay  Presidency. The statue of Her Majesty  Queen Victoria was unveiled by H.E. the Lord Curzon of Kedleston in 1897.
The Watson museum, for convenient public viewing,  is divided into various sections such as paintings and manuscripts, textile, inscription, sculptures, coins, anthropology, folk embroidery and handicraft, musical instruments, woodwork, natural history and rocks and minerals. An important annual event that takes place  in the museum is known as the Bhartiya Shilp Samruddhi. It is a week-long celebration that takes place here during the second week of January. It is well attended by the people.

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