Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya : An Open-Air Museum

The Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya or the Museum of Mankind is situated in the sprawling complex of Shamla hills, overlooking the forested hills of the Van Vihar National Park, Bhopal. Anthropological in nature, the museum presents the life, culture and beliefs of India’s tribes. It depicts the story of evolution of mankind in time and space. The museum spread over 200 acres of land focuses on individual tribes as well as giving an overview of Adivasi life from the east-west-north-south corners of India, through its permanent and temporary exhibition spaces.

The display here can be broadly classified as :

  • Open-air exhibitions
  • Indoor galleries (Veethi Sankul and Bhopal gallery)
  • Temporary exhibitions
  • Permanent exhibitions
  • Special exhibitions

Some example of open air exhibitions are: Tribal habitat, Coastal village, Desert village, Himalayan village, Mythological trail, Traditional technology park etc. The displays here are through art, photographs, dress, cooking-implements and entire tribal dwellings giving an insight into the socio-cultural lifestyle of the people belonging to different tribes.

Tribal Habitat is an open-air exhibition of some 30 buildings in village settings. Built and maintained by the tribals using traditional tools and materials, its authentic feel is accentuated by its hillside location.

As well as dwellings from across India – from the Himalayan foothills to the Rajasthani desert and the Orissan forest – there is a mythological trail exploring the tribal people’s extraordinary myths and legends through their crafts.