Museum – Tamluk
Archaeological Museum, Tamluk (West Bengal)
Tamluk (22° 22′ N 87° 55′ E) is the headquarter of East Medinapur district, West Bengal and is situated at a distance of 100 kms from Kolkata connected by road. The nearest railway station is Mecheda lying on Kolkata – Kharagpur route of the south eastern railway.
Situated on the right bank of Rupnaryan river, Tamluk is found mentioned in ancient Pali and Sanskrit literatures in different names such as Tamralipta, Damalipta, Tamralipi, Tamraliptika or Velakula. It functioned as an important port from where Indian sea-faring vessels sailed to distant lands. Tamluk also founds a place of mention in the works of Pliny and the great geographer Ptolemy as Taluctae and Tamalites respectively. Renowned Chinese pilgrims like Fahien, Hiuen Tsang and Itsing who visited this place have left vivid accounts of the flourishing port city. Besides a prosperous commercial city, it was great religious centre also.
The antiquity and importance of the site have been established through excavation from time to time. Assessing the importance of the site, Archaeological Survey of India in the year 1954-55 undertook systematic excavation to reveal its cultural sequence. The excavation revealed the earliest occupation from Neolithic up to modern times.
Period I ascribed to Neolithic culture was characterized by finding of Neolithic celts along with ill fired grey pottery. After a break the site was seen re-occupied in third –second century BC. Terracotta figurines of Sunga period, cast copper coins, NBP pottery from the cultural wealth of this period.
The interest and zeal of the local public led to the establishment of Taluk museum and research centre in 1975 with the primary objective to preserve the rich cultural heritage of Tamluk and adjacent region.
In the newly organized museum, galleries have been arranged in the main hall housing prehistoric implements collected from various parts of Medinapur district. Bone tools, arrow heads, knife, harpoon, fish hook etc are also displayed in the gallery.
Tamluk has gained fame in the realm of terracotta art due to its unique terracotta plaques datable to the Sunga epoch. The displayed terracottas mainly depict exquisite female figures popularly known as Yakshis in jataka stories. The Kushana period terracotta art is represented by human forms and toy carts datable from 1st – 5th century AD. Terracotta seals and sealings of the post Gupta period, antiquities of Pala period are displayed in the collection. Development of Indian coinage has been displayed starting from silver punch marked coins, cast copper coins, coins of Muslim rulers and upto modern times.
Another interesting object on display is a Roman amphora, indicating the trade contacts of this region with the Roman empire. Scroll painting known as Pattachitra has been widely prevalent in various regions of Bengal as an expression of folk art. The display contains some such colourful scroll painting depicting puranic and mythical stories.
No entry fee
Museum remain closed on friday.
Shri D.N. Sinha, Assistant Superintending Archaeologist,
Archaeological Museum, Archaeological Survey of India, Tamluk- 721 636 East Midnapore, West Bengal