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Museum Based On the life of Lord Ram and Ramayana

Ram Katha Hastshilp Sangrahlaya located at Tulsi Smarak Bhawan in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh is unique museum dedicated to the life of Sri Ram and other aspects of Epic Ramayana. The museum is an initiative of Ayodhya Research Institute (ARI), an entity of the Uttar Pradesh department of culture. The museum attempts to present the life of Sri Rama through handicrafts, paintings, sculptures and other art works.
Indian Express reports
“For a common person, this museum presents a complete view of Ram in folk across the country. I have never gone beyond Lucknow or Ayodhya, but through this gallery, I am aware of at least 10 forms where Ramayana is used as a theme,” says Ajayendra Kumar, a regular visitor.
The director of the Institute, Dr YP Singh says, “The story of Lord Ram is one story that connects the entire country. Whether it is the Pattua style of folk painting from West Bengal or the mix metal craft from Gujarat, or the Thanjavur paintings and Cheriyal Pattu from South, they are all different forms narrating different episodes from the Ramayan. We are trying to collect all artifacts not just from India, but from other countries too.
The entrance of this museum situated in the Tulsi Smarak Bhawan gives a glimpse of what is in store. The entrance has 7 glass showcases on one side, depicting different episodes from the Ramayana through Bundeli folk art. The statues have been created from clay and painted in earth colors.
“This is an art which not many people are aware of. By exhibiting it here, we also wish to highlight the art form,” says Dr Singh. The entrance also has a showcase depicting the Dashavatar (Ram was one of the 10 avatars or incarnations of Lord Vishnu) in wooden sculpture style from Andhra Pradesh, along with Ram Darbar (another popular style of juxtaposing Ram, Lakshman, Sita and Hanuman) in terracotta.
The walls of the museum have episodes of Ramayan etched in Madhubani style from Bihar, Bhitti from Mathura, Phadd style from Rajasthan and Patta style from Orissa. Inside the museum, one can see folk paintings on leaves and textiles, and statues in stone, terracotta, bronze and mix metal, all based on Ramayana.
One of the most interesting sections of the museum is a special section devoted to the Ramleelas. From costumes of different Ramleelas to props, one can find everything here. Masks from the ancient Ram Nagar Ram Leela, made from wood, are a major attraction in this gallery.
Says Dr Singh, “Today, the masks are much lighter, made from papier mache. But these are heavy masks which have been beautifully carved in wood, used until three decades back. It is indeed surprising and astonishing how the artists use to embellish them.”