The forlorn ghats of Kashi have welcomed a Virtual Experiential Museum on the Man Mandir Ghat for the devotees. Inaugurated by the hon’ble Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi, the museum is one of a kind in eastern UP. Set up by the National Council Of Science Museum, it is a new-age technique to showcase Banarasi culture and heritage.
It is a clever way to influence the young gen to know more about their roots and culture in a way they will relate to. The depiction being modern and tech-savvy is an equal attraction for the locals as well as foreign tourists. The museum boasts of realistic 3D views of the ghats, lanes, and the virtual taste of the banarasi paan. The 3d rendition of the mighty rapids of the river Ganges flowing from Lord Shiva’s hair are quite an exquisite experience in itself, along with the sweet notes of classical music.
This museum is an amazing amalgam of our rich heritage. Adept photographers were rolled in to click quality pictures for creating an impeccable touring experience for the visitors. Walking in the museum feels as if one is quite literally having a first-hand experience of pacing the very lanes of the city.
Varanasi has a legacy dating back to more than a thousand years. Located on the banks of Ganga, this 11th-century city is as holy as it can be. No doubt it is hailed as the spiritual capital of India. People travel and refuge here in their last days to find liberation- freedom from the cycle of birth and death.
Varanasi saw a significant change in the 18th century when Maratha and Brahmin kings patronised this city and worked for its transformation. And it is also interesting to know that the Mughal Emperor Akbar also built two large temples for Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva here.
The museum is on the landmark historical site of Man mandir mahal- a 1600-year-old ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) protected observatory built by Raja Sawai Man Singh, a great astronomer. and is situated near the historic Dashashwamedh Ghat. There is a Man Mandir ghat in the precincts as well which was built by Raja Man Singh, a close associate of Akbar and also one of his “Navaratnas.”
As for the construction of the Virtual Museum, The Indian National Trust For Art and Culture Heritage (INTACH) was specifically chosen to take the charge for its designing and overall curation work. It also helped in producing the scripts which were required for showcasing of the documentaries related to our history and culture.
It is indeed an extraordinary experience for any visitor exploring this place. The amazing tour also helps the visitors to see Pt. Kishan Maharaj, Padma Vibhushan Thumari Queen, Late Girija Devi along with late Bismillah Khan. Also, the story of Ganga’s arrival on Earth has been significantly crafted!
Remember Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory tour? It was a little close to virtual reality when Violet Beauregarde chews on the gum which doubles up as a three-course meal. Well, this virtual museum is no less and ticks all the right marks on our excite-to meter. You can have a pretty much similar experience at the museum, matching the imaginative contours of Roald Dahl, by getting the virtual taste of the Banarasi paan at the digitised paan stall.
An exclusive laser light show disburses the history of the river Ganga and the mythical legend associated with it. More than half-a-dozen LED lights have been installed along with HD images of ghats, lanes and popular figures of Banaras. For the foodies, Touch screens have been put up for an interactive experience of the banarasi delicacies.
For the locals, there is an entry fee of about Rs.25 and for foreign tourists, it is Rs.300. As for the children who are below 15 years of age the entry in the museum is free. Banaras is well connected via roads and trains.