Sunday 10 January 2016

Sanghol Archaeological Museum – a gem among museums

Normally one would associate museums with capitals or big cities. But the Sanghol Archaeological Museum is different in the sense that it is located at the site where the Harappan, Buddhist and Kushan period artefacts have been unearthed. 

Sanghol Archaeological Museum Building 

Located in Ucha Pind Sanghol the place has been inhabited from Late Harappan to Medieval to the current days. In fact during Kushan period of 1st to 3rd century AD this place was an important town and was on a trade route. The museums displays antiquities, sculptures, coins, household materials found in the excavation here.

Buddha Statue outside the Sanghol Museum

Two Buddhist Stupa sites here revealed the largest collection of sculptures belonging to the Mathura School of Art found outside Mathura. And these sandstone sculptures on pillars, railings, coping stones and crossbars are the pride of the museum. There were 118 pillars that were unearthed from the Sanghol site and about 60 of them are displayed in the museum and I must say they are in excellent condition.

Salabhanjikas on the railing pillars at the Sanghol Museum

There is a section on Salabhanjika which is an art motif of the Kushan period. It means the lady breaking the branches of the Sal tree.

Pillars depcting Gandharva and Salbhanjikas

There is a section of pillars where women are drinking wine. It tells us about the culture during that period when women use to openly partake liquor whereas in today’s world (Indian) it is considered as a bad habit even among men!

A woman dancing and balancing a pot on her elbow

There is a Toilette section where the pillars depict different aspects of beautiful young maiden’s toilet in a number of railing pillars – be it looking at themselves in the mirror or making braids of their long hair or a woman squeezing out water from her hair after bath. It goes on to prove that taking care of their beauty is an old art among women!

A Mother playing with her child

The round shape museum has only two floors. The first floor has seals and Late Harapppan pottery belonging to 2000 BC to 1200 BC, stone and terracotta objects as well as jewellery unearthed from the place.

A Jataka tale motif

There is a nominal entry fee of Rs 10 for adults and Rs 4 for children below 12 years of age and the Museum remain open on all days except Mondays from 10 to 4. Photography inside the museum is not allowed. If one wants then a special permission and payment of Rs 1100 have to be made at their office in Chandigarh. One can reach Sanghol from both Chandigarh (40 Km) and Ludhiana (55 Km) as it is located on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana highway. 

It is a must-visit museum for those who are interested in art and history and on top of that a history that dates back to Harappan civilization!

Also read: 
Buddhist Vestiges of Sanghol, Punjab
Punjabi Folk Music