| Art, culture and youth affairs minister Sukhada Pandey checks out the items at the souvenir shop of Handicrafts and Handloom Exports Corporation of India Limited at Patna Museum on Friday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
For visitors to Patna Museum, the stroll down time would be complemented with memoirs of the visit in the form of handloom and handicraft artefacts from the souvenir shop.
Christened, “The Patna Museum HHEC Souvenir Shop”, the store is being run by Handicrafts and Handlooms Exports Corporation (HHEC) of India Limited, a Union ministry of textile initiative.
Over 100 products made in Bihar as well other parts of the country are available at affordable prices at the outlet. The shop was inaugurated by art, culture and youth affairs minister Sukhada Pandey on Friday. She said: “The need of a souvenir shop was felt for a long time and I am glad that we finally have one now. Now, tourists would be able to take back memoirs of their visit to Patna Museum. Though the shop has started with a small area we would provide open another outlet in the front of the museum, for more objects to be put up. I would urge HHEC to promote handicraft and handloom products from Bihar.”
The minimum priced article is a wooden bookmark costing Rs 10, while the highest is a brass statue of Lord Ganesha pegged at Rs 12,000.
The other objects up for sale at the souvenir shop include lac pens, gemstone boxes, Madhubani paintings, glass bells, puzzle paintings, pouches, stoles, kurtis, Gandhi watch, pill boxes, Buddha statues, refrigerator magnets, Mughal coin embossed mouse pad, carved marble elephants and key chains, among others.
“We have replicas of museum objects, gift items and showpieces at this shop. We have on display stonework from Gaya, Mithila paintings, paper-made objects from Champaran to promote the culture of the state. The response to the shop seems is good with sales figures amounting to around Rs 7,000 on the first day. Once we are provided a bigger place, we would develop a facility similar to the Cottage Emporium in New Delhi,” said Nirmal Sinha, the chairman-cum-managing director, HHEC.
However, several visitors to the museum complained of lack of sufficient information at various galleries like inscription, metal and weapon and Thangka paintings. “The idea behind coming to the museum is to get in-hand historical information. However, many of the artefacts in a few galleries do not contain any description. To compound our woes, there is no map at the museum to locate the different sections and finding a guide is equally difficult,” said Mohammad Tasleem Ahmad, a government schoolteacher in the capital.
Shariq Ahmad, a second-year student of mechanical engineering at Maulana Azad College of Engineering, Patna, thought that the models at the International Museum gallery were advertisements. “I did not know that these are the models of the proposed international museum prepared by the firms competing for the design. There was no description. I thought these were advertisement by some foreign firms,” said Ahmad.
Dipak Kumar Singh, secretary, environment and forest department, was also present at the event and congratulated HHEC for the venture.