The Indian Museum will celebrate its 209th Foundation Day with an exhibition on the Buddha titled Bodhi Yatra: Revisiting Buddhist Ways to Nirvana. The exhibition will be inaugurated on February 2 and will continue till March 1.
The museum will showcase a selection of Buddhist artefacts, spanning across the development of the Aniconic worship of the Buddha to the Mahayana and Vajrayana schools of philosophies, to trace the journey and evolution of Buddhist ways to attain enlightenment.
“The exhibition celebrates and showcases the growth, spread and cultural synthesis of Buddhist ideologies in India and its further continuity across Asia. It is a visual expression that narrates the development and transformation of Buddhist art tradition through the ages,” said Satyakam Sen of the Indian Museum.
The annual Nathaniel Wallich Memorial Lecture will be delivered on February 2 by Kishor K. Basa, chairman of the National Monuments Authority, on the “History of Ethnological Collections in Indian Museum During the Colonial Period”.
Wallich was the first curator of the Indian Museum.
“The title Bodhi Yatra implies the different roads to salvation through the philosophies of Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana. The exhibition will showcase different objects from the store depicting these different paths. We will begin with the Jataka stories, then there will be life scenes of the Buddha from the Gandhara period and then the death of the Buddha depicted through relics and stupas. This is till the pre-Christian era. Then, we have idol worship, the Mahayana form of Buddhism where the four Buddhist counsels were revealed. Through the exhibition we will revisit the paths,” said Sen.
Significant among the displays will be the medallions from the Bharhut gallery, depicting the Jataka stories and icon worship. There will be the relic casket of 1898 — which had a bone relic of Buddha — from Piprawah on the Indo-Nepal border, where it was recovered by British overseer William Claxton Pepe. “The relic casket is one of the rarest of rare objects, which we will display at the exhibition. Along with it will be a crystal casket,” said Sen.