Gujarat: Museum, gallery at railway station to showcase Vadnagar’s ancient history - Hindustan Times
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Gujarat: Museum, gallery at railway station to showcase Vadnagar’s ancient history

Feb 08, 2024 03:57 PM IST

Vadnagar is about 100km away from Ahmedabad and about 70m from the state capital of Gandhinagar. With a population of nearly 30,000 people, it boasts a living history spanning over 2,500 years

Vadnagar, the birthplace of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is set to witness two significant heritage initiatives over the next one year that will take a deep dive into the Gujarat town’s rich ancient history.

Representational image.
Representational image.

One of them, led by the Union culture ministry in collaboration with the Gujarat government, aims to uncover and preserve the historical treasures embedded in Vadnagar’s landscape by developing a state-of-the-art archaeological museum at an estimated cost of 200 crore. This museum will chronicle the town’s evolution over 2,500 years, exploring seven distinct cultural periods.

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The other, a more recent initiative, involves the Indian Railways embarking on an endeavour to shed light on lesser-known aspects of Vadnagar’s past. They are in the process of establishing an interpretive gallery at a cost of 5 crore, featuring artworks centered around themes such as Buddhism, Jainism, and the Indian railway’s journey, officials in the knowhow said.

The Western Railway recently issued bids to appoint an agency for the concept, design, construction, and development of an ‘Exhibition Gallery’ at Vadnagar railway station.

“All the artworks should have proper 3D projection mapping with sound. Sculptures should look attractive and realistic so that visitors can connect with them. While visitors experience the gallery, the journey of (the place’s) history should be well connected with projection mapping and the sculpture placed in the gallery,” the official document of the project stated.

“Vadnagar has a very ancient history, and the artwork themes will embody the periods of Buddhism, Jainism, Sun Temple Modhera, Rani ki Vaav, Haveli Theme, Lake and Gaikwad and the Rail Journey. Visitors can immerse themselves through digital, print, and static displays. It is not just a source of information, but will also be enhanced with cutting-edge technology, including 3D films, projection mapping, VR experiences, interactive kiosks, and a dedicated entertainment area,” said an official involved in the project. The project is expected to come up by April next year, he added.

The Vadnagar railway station, where PM Modi helped his father run a tea stall as a child, was revamped in 2021. The tea stall was converted to a cafeteria at a cost of about 2 crore and is likely to be inaugurated soon, said another official aware of the development.

The construction of the country’s first archaeological experiential museum in Vadnagar is also nearing completion, with the Centre and the Gujarat government’s Directorate of Archaeology and Museums overseeing the project.

The Vadnagar Archaeological Experiential Museum, spanning over 13,500sqm, is poised to emerge adjacent to the excavated area in Vadnagar, offering visitors a first-hand experience of the ancient town’s historical treasures. A bridge willconnect the museum to the actual excavation site, which will be sheltered by a permanent shed along the restored fort wall, officials said.

Vadnagar and the Sun Temple at Modhera in Mehsana district achieved a significant milestone in December 2022 when they were added to the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The archaeological exploration of Vadnagar traces back to 1953-54, and in recent years, the Directorate of Archaeology of Gujarat has intensified excavations across multiple sites within the city. Particularly noteworthy is the 2008 excavation, which yielded remarkable discoveries, including the unveiling of an ancient Buddhist monastery and votive stupas, shedding new light on the town’s rich historical legacy.

Vadnagar is about 100km away from Ahmedabad and about 70m from the state capital of Gandhinagar. With a population of nearly 30,000 people, it boasts a living history spanning over 2,500 years.

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