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New museum a huge hit with pilgrims

Prime attraction: The Bihar Museum

Patna: Bihar Museum has been in great demand with so many visitors in town for the thanksgiving ceremony of Prakash Utsav.

A special exhibition of Sikh culture at the museum is drawing the crowds. "The exhibition is on till January 1 at a special hall, which remains shut on other days" said R.C. Singh, the guard at the museum entrance. This move has won over Sikh visitors. "It is a nice endeavour to explain Sikh history in a proper way. Really, hats off to the Bihar tourism department," said Harbhajan Singh, a retired IPS officer from Punjab who was at the museum the other day.

"Footfall at the museum has gone up since its inauguration," additional director of Bihar Museum, JPN Singh, told The Telegraph. "On an average, 2,000-2,500 tourists visit daily. This shoots up to 6,000 during holidays. Residents constitute a major portion of these visitors, followed by those from other states and countries. We are doing our level best to promote tourism and this museum is an agent.

Recently students from Jammu and Kashmir, who were on an educational tour organised by the ministry of home affairs were given free entry to the museum. Many visitors come from neighbouring Jharkhand too. "This is great. We do not find such things in Tata, so we are here. Some areas do seem a bit empty and incomplete but overall bahut changa hai ji (it is awesome)," said Rajendar Singh Pal from Jamshedpur.

The museum, which features exhibits on regions, history, art and culture, is spread over 13.5 acres on Bailey Road with a built-up area of 2.5 lakh square feet. "All the galleries have been opened," the museum guard said. "The cafeteria was closed but is expected to open up by January 15."

The signature building has a shop selling souvenirs. " People generally buy Madhubani-print clothes, the wooden Buddha, beautifully pouched tea and, yes, the jewellery," said Pappu, an employee at the Central Cottage Industries Emporium.

Unlike Patna Museum, the illustrious Bihar Museum has caught the public eye because of its ultra-modern architecture and exhibits. Built at an estimated Rs 498 crore, the government had collaborated with the Japan-based Maki and Associates along with its Indian partner OPOLIS, Mumbai, as the private consultant architect for the project. It was after much delay that one of the largest museums in India, the Bihar museum, full and final was opened for the public in October' 17.

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