Inside Bhopal Tribal Museum : Preserving the Cultural Heritage

by Apr 4, 2018Art & Culture, India Art & Culture, Madhya Pradesh45 comments

The city of Lakes also has a number of museums.  When we heard of the Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum at Bhopal, we were not all enthusiastic to visit the place. Museums are not actually our thing, though we are fond of history and heritage. We would rather visit the ancient ruins and grand buildings and look for stories in the stones and sculptures. But we were pleasantly surprised when we visited the MP Tribal Museum at Bhopal.

Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum Bhopal

The place is not like any typical museum where the exhibits are displayed and some contextual information are given. Instead, the place is an ode to the region’s tribal art and culture. The lifestyle, folklore, social customs and rituals of the seven indigenous tribes of Madhya Pradesh – the Bhils, Gonds, Bharias, Korku, Sahariya, Baiga and Kol are displayed in the museum through a repository of traditional art and elegance. It celebrates the way of life of these seven major tribes of the state through their handlooms and craft. The concept is beautiful. The beliefs, farming practices, colourful rituals, mythological and spiritual narratives of the Adivasis are exhibited in a grand way as if you enter right in the heart of their lives and homes.

Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum Bhopal

The MP Tribal Museum was inaugurated in 2013 and is designed by Revathi Kamath. The sprawling campus is divided into 6 colorful galleries showing the diversity of the seven tribes of the state. The first gallery that we entered was lighted in a warm glow of yellow and orange. It was the place for the traditional mud and brick houses of the tribes. You can enter the houses and have a look at the exhibits there. All of it felt so real. It seemed as if the lady of the house would just come out with her daily chores. The exterior of the houses had colourful murals and paintings. This gallery is a visual delight and provides a good insight into the tribal life, their way of living, the basic tools they use, how they cook and preserve the food grains.

Places to visit in Bhopal

Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum Bhopal

Celebrating Cultural Diversity: MP Tribal Museum

As we moved to the next gallery, the visuals turned more colourful. This is the gallery celebrating cultural diversity – the Tribal Aesthetic Gallery. The exhibits here depict the rituals of the tribes depicting the circle of life – birth, marriage and death. The traditions attached to these festivals and sacred rituals are depicted here beautifully. Nature plays an important part in the tribal life and the sanctity attached to these natural forces has been brought to life in the paintings and artworks by the artists. A part of the gallery is full of bamboo and wooden figurines and forest have been recreated to tell the Gond folklore of ‘Basin Kanya’ – a mythical story about how bamboo originated.

Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum Bhopal MP Tourism

We saw a model of a brass bangle having six-feet diameter having figurines of cattle and farmers. It is the enlarged version of a bangle that is gifted to a Bhil woman on her marriage. My interest piqued on seeing numerous drums tied to a tree. Then I saw the figurines of musicians depicting the stories of the origin of music among the local tribal communities. It was so impelling to see how ordinary objects and nature are such strong symbols of faith and expression in the local communities.

Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum Bhopal

The Spiritual World Gallery: MP Tribal Museum

This gallery is perhaps the most stunning visually and fascinating as well. We entered into a magical land illuminated with blues and reds. This is the world where reality and mysticism merge. The exhibits symbolize the afterlife, the mystical and spiritual world of the tribes. There are memorial pillars, terracotta sculptures and figurines. The lighting too helps to accentuate the experience of the spiritual world. We come out of this gallery with a feeling of reverence.

Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum Bhopal

The next gallery is dedicated to the neighbouring state of Chhatisgarh. Well, it was once a part of Madhya Pradesh. And finally, we come to the last gallery where different games have been exhibited. Traditional tug-of-war, Ghoda Badam Shahi, indigenous wrestling has been depicted here using sculpture of men and women. The daily recreational activated have been showcased here through painting and sculptures.

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So the MP Tribal Museum made us fascinated about the state and its people. Although sceptical at the beginning, the visit to the museum has been one of the best experiences. This exceptional museum captures the life tales of the tribal people and shares them in an imaginative way. While at Bhopal, do not miss this place. This is one of the most interesting places to visit in Bhopal.

Here are a few more photographs of the Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum at Bhopal.

Places to visit in Bhopal

Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum Bhopal

Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum Bhopal

Bhopal Tourism Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum Bhopal

Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum Bhopal

Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum Bhopal Tourism

Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum Bhopal

Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum Bhopal

Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum Bhopal

Some Facts about the MP Tribal Museum

How to reach the MP Tribal Museum:

The nearest city bus stop for Tribal Museum is Depot Chouraha near Shastri Nagar. The Museum is around 800 meters from here.

Address: Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum Shyamala Hills, Bhopal 462002, Madhya Pradesh, India. Phone: +91 755 2661948, 2661640

Timings: 12 PM to 8 PM. Museum remains closed on Mondays and all state holidays.

Entry Fees

Indian Visitors: INR 10 per person.

Foreign Visitors: INR 100 per person

Photography: INR 50 (Camera without stand/tripod/flash)

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Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum Bhopal

 

Agni & Amrita

Agni & Amrita

Travel Experts

We are Agni and Amrita, the story-telling team behind Tale of 2 Backpackers and partners in crime in travel and (mis)adventures of life. We have been travelling together for more than a decade looking for immersive experiences while enjoying the little beauties of life. We are intrigued by heritage, culture, festivals and people and that is reflected in our travel. And yes, we love the Himalayas too.

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45 Comments

  1. Wow! the pictures were a sheer delight to go through. My kids would have loved the displays hanging from the tree 😉

    Reply
  2. I was unable to visit in when I was in Bhopal due to lack of time. After seeing your blog, now I know what I have missed out on. It’s a a very unique idea for a museum. I want to go here and learn about the various tribes of Madhya Pradesh.

    Reply
  3. I’ve not visited Bhopal so far, but now, I have one more reason to visit. It is heartening to see, the culture and traditions of the tribes of central India being preserved for posterity.

    Reply
  4. Wow..I love the way the lifestyle and cultures of the different tribes is being represented in this museum through the artifacts and displays. We city dwellers are mostly unaware of the tribal populations of India, their ways of life, their struggles and their cultures. This museum is surely trying to bridge the gap with it’s exhibits.

    Reply
  5. This is indeed a unique museum. I can understand what you mean when you say that this museum is different from other run of the mill museums. The exhibits look so intriguing and seem to provide an immersive experience of the tribal culture of the place. The pictures bring alive the character of the museum so well. It is apparent that the museum has been designed with lots of innovation and creativity.

    Reply
  6. Fantastic museum you’ve introduced here! Learning more about indigenous tribes is certainly one of the most intriguing parts of a country’s history which is oftentimes neglected in this globalised world of ours. Love the artefacts on display!

    Reply
  7. Great photos! Seems like a wonderful place to spend the afternoon in 🙂

    Reply
  8. I’m a huge museum fan and this looks really great. I love how the artefacts are displayed – hanging from a tree…how cool ist that?! Whether it’s so raw, wooden figures or the colorful clay figurines – everything looks very, very nice.

    Reply
  9. I am normally a big fan of museums but I have to say that the Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum at Bhopal looks very interesting.

    Reply
  10. This is such a lovely find, I must say. I have never been to Madhya Pradesh even though I had a friend living in Bhopal some years back. I am not usually a museum person but this tribal museum has definitely sparked my interest! The aesthetic gallery depicting the circle of life is so intriguing!

    Reply
  11. They have done a good job with this museum. It looks so atmospheric. And I liked your photography of the exhibition. It is not easy to take good shots of museums.

    Reply
  12. This is a great summary of this museum, and the pictures are lovely! We too are not museum people, so I can relate to a museum having to be pretty outstanding to catch my attention. This one sounds great!

    Reply
  13. I love to explore museums. I need to put this one to my bucket list. Really detailed post I need to say. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  14. I am so fascinated by the cultural heritage myself. I always seek for museum when I travel. This heritage of indigenous the tribes of Madhya Pradesh is awesome and a culture that must be understood at its real value. I hope to be able to visit it one day.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much! Please do visit the museum. Its a great place.

      Reply
  15. Loved the post Amrita. I am not a fan of museum myself but this looks like a must visit. Love the pictures too. Just to add, if you loved this you will like Hyderabad’s SalarJung museum and Gandhinagar’s/ Delhi’s Swaminarayan temple cum its 5 exhibitions as well 🙂 Keep travelling and sharing.

    Reply
  16. This is such an interesting place. I would love to experience a tribal museum

    Reply
  17. I had no idea there were so many indigenous tribes in the region, and I’m happy to hear that they are represented in this museum. It’s important to honor the people that have come before us.

    Reply
    • Yes, its quite important to respect the heritage and culture. The MP Tribal Museum has done a good job!

      Reply
  18. Learning about the history and culture of the places you visit is such a huge part of understanding them. Personally, I really enjoy exhibits dealing with the rituals and beliefs of different cultures, so this museum seems like a great fit for me and the design looks impressive.

    Reply
  19. I remember visiting it a long time ago, it was still being developed. It looks like it has turned into a beautiful museum. Time to visit Bhopal again.

    Reply
  20. This is very interesting place and I am glad you shared it. Some tourists may not be familiar that it exists. I think the price is very convenient too.

    Reply
    • Thanks Anita! Yes, it is usually left out of the list as it is a museum. But it is a lovely place.

      Reply
  21. I’m a huge supporter of museums. I love your photos and this piece, especially as it pertains to celebrating cultural diversity.

    Reply
  22. There’s a similar collection in the British Museum. I found it so interesting when I visited and definitely want to expand my knowledge of this curious topic.

    Reply
  23. I love museums so this post was just an compelling read. So nice. And your pictures are fab

    Reply
  24. This museum is so curious!
    I’ve always loved tribal masks and especially the tales. I think I would really enjoy it! I’ll take note for a future trip to India.

    Reply
  25. Oh this museum looks so interesting! I would love to visit one day.

    Reply
  26. Even I don’t like museums but this seems far better then worth a visit…The images are so intriguing…Great Job

    Reply
  27. All topics are perfectly organized and the images are just fab. Keep writing!!

    Reply
  28. Wow, this is such a detailed post. I’ve read about Bhils and Sahariya tribe but others were new to me. You’ve given me something to research this weekend.

    Reply
  29. One more place added to the list when I start backpacking in Bhopal

    Reply

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