TODAY -

Andro museum draws in foreigners too
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 07 2012: Inspite of being located in one of the remotest parts of Imphal East district and at the foothills of Baruni range (Nongmaiching), Mutua Museum Cultural Complex, Andro has been gradually drawing tourists, both domestic and foreigners.

With the idea of transforming the eastern side of the Baruni hill range into a cultural hub dawning upon its creator around 1992 and the first construction taking place in November the next year, visitors coming to the location was very rare and negligible, conceded Mutua Museum director Mutua Bahadur while speaking to the Sangai Express.

According to the museum creator/director, the first construction was a traditional Meitei house (Meitei Yumjao) built with wood, mud and thatch composition, under which contemporary as well as antique Potteries of North East region in general and Manipur's indigenous communities in particular were preserved and put on display.

The second construction is said to be a Kabui traditional house, built of materials similar to the Meitei Yumjao, in which bamboo and cane craftsmanship of the Kabuis were preserved followed by storage of traditional musical instruments, ornaments, bell-metal utensils and sculptures/paintings of different indigenous communities of Manipur.

With more inclusion of traditional items used by the people of North East region and antique textiles of Myanmar and Thailand in around 2003, the museum literally assumed international flavour, expressed Mutua Bahadur while informing that he decided to develop and dedicate the site as a cultural heritage complex on the occasion of World Heritage Day observance on April 18 in 2006 .

Along with the dedication and transformation of the complex, arrival of tourists started initially with the local populace which grew in subsequent years.

Apart from local visitors the complex started to draw tourists from other Indian States and abroad, said the director and informed that till date about 251 foreign tourists have visited the cultural complex.

Compared to the foreign nationals from countries such as United States of America, Japan, Germany, France, Thailand and The netherlands, about 1300 Indian tourists are said to have enjoyed the scenic beauty and cultural items at the sprawling complex which has both open and in-house museums.

Expressing satisfaction that Indian as well as foreign tourists were able to have an insight on the rich cultural heritage and traditions of Manipur and the region, he said minimal entry fee is levied from the visitors to preserve its sanctity and protect the museum items.

Acknowledging his effort and endeavour State's Department of Art and Culture has been providing Rs 50,000 annually for the past few years, he said and jestingly informed that the museum's music system developed technical snag after many foreign visitors insisted that the folk music being played at higher decibels.

In the formative years of the museum the site was opened round the clock but certain restrictions had to be put in place following theft of museum items, Mutua Bahadur conveyed and expressed that the main attraction of the complex is the cultural integrity pillar in which varied facets of Manipur's cultural heritage are carved in a teak tree-beam of 4.20 metre height and 1.65 mtr diameter.


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