The great Thar has enamoured many for centuries and been home and a livelihood for generations of families in Rajasthan. The merciless golden sand of the desert boasts of a unique culture it has harboured on its edges. The grandeur of Rajasthan does not just come from this desert though, it comes from a long history of grand kingdoms and proud rulers. The culture and art of this region are unique to their own and is admired all over the world. This line of artistic expression comes from different types of people that lived and thrived in Rajasthan over many centuries. Their experiences and emotions come through with complete feeling in their craftsmanship, in their folktales, songs, dances and artefacts. It is a wonderful celebration of Rajasthani past, victories, sufferings, and happiness amongst several other things.
Situated in the Sadar Bazaar of the city of Jaisalmer is a place preserving time and tales of these folk artefacts known as the Thar Heritage Museum in Rajasthan. A unique one out of the other museums in Rajasthan, the Thar Heritage Museum is a reservoir of Rajasthani folk history, specifically art history. The museum was established by a respected scholar of Jaisalmer folklore named L Narayan Khatri. Though the Heritage Museum is a private museum, the collection they have curated is quite a vast and varied one. Not just Jaisalmer focused, the museum features the cultural and artistic history of regions all over Rajasthan. Right from the folklores, artefacts, historical customs, costumes, and instruments to the architectural styles of Rajasthan, everything can be learned about this interesting place.
The founder L Narayan Khatri has established this museum with a goal of collecting and preserving ancient folk art and historical pieces of the relevance of the Thar desert for the community, students, scholars, and anyone with a curiosity to learn. Mr Khatri has been collecting for about 30 years and has even authored a book on the culture of Jaisalmer named Jaisalmer Folklore History & Architecture. His dedication to his cause is inspirational. You may even experience a tour of the museum and hear tales of his collecting journey if you visit here.
Unlike many other museums in Rajasthan, the Thar Heritage Museum has been awarded for its work towards the preservation of Rajasthani folklore by the Governor of Rajasthan on 15th August 2008 and by the District Magistrate in 2006.
The museum contains things new and old which allow us to have an insight into the lives of people in and around the desert. It showcases various instruments, utensils, costumes, accessories, fossils, ornaments, postcards, documents, coins, manuscripts, weapons and more. Interestingly it also offers to show a unique sea fossil collection. You can also enjoy some time in the snakes and ladders section which is not the checkered game we commonly know but a segment spreading knowledge about Hinduism and the spiritual journey. Also, you may indulge in the spirit of Rajasthan through a curated puppet show every evening narrated by none other than Mr Khatri.
A variety of handicrafts like vintage stamps, Urdu inscriptions, and other souvenirs. Tour the gallery and explore the various artefacts and relics. There is another section that displays different photographs of the past rulers and royalty of Jaisalmer living their lives. You will come across huge portraits of the town in its early form. It is truly jarring to see how the place has changed over decades from old glory to the traditional modern.
The best time to visit the museum is anytime during the day though preferably stay until the evening to experience the amazing puppet show. The museum is situated in the Malka Pol artist colony in the heart of the city so you may find it easy to locate.
After you explore the culture and art of the city of Jaisalmer, winding down in the evening at a magical place is a must. About 170 kilometres away is an experience of a lifetime awaiting you at Manvar Resort and Desert Camp in Jodhpur. Under the starry night sky, in the midst of sand filled landscape and overlooking an unending horizon, enjoy authentic Rajasthani food and experience traditional folk art forms surrounding a campfire. Make it a relaxing evening and sleep through the night carefree in our luxury tents only to wake up to a wonderful day full of potential ahead!