Meeras Mehal- the centre of people’s interest in Sopore

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Sadaf Khurshed
Srinagar, Feb 03 (KNB): Meeras Mehal, the first of its kind, a Museum of rare artifacts founded in 2001 by late Atiqa Bano is located in Chinkipora area of Apple town Sopore. The museum houses the rich, diverse and artistic heritage of Kashmir thus becoming the centre of people’s interest.
Meeras Mehal was founded by late Atiqa Bano popularly known as “Behenji” in 2011 to preserve the culture of Kashmir, after retiring from education department in 2010, would devote most of her time in visiting the villages of Kashmir and collecting artifacts from every nook and corner and was able to collect more than 3000 artifacts that are housed in Meeras Mehal.
The museum displays a rich and impressive collection of artifacts and objects collected personally by Late Atiqa Bano. This collection includes old ornaments, paper machie objects, traditional dresses, and traditional utensils.



The museum also conserves a treasure of manuscripts that include books on religion, ethics , poetry ,literature ,grammar, historical accounts , bibliographic accounts , commentaries on Quran written in Persian ,Arabic , Sanskrit ,Kashmiri and Urdu , masterpieces of Islamic calligraphy and manuscripts of Quran. The museum possesses interesting lithographic and archeological selection and other numerous precious artifacts of high value reflecting elite ritual life style and cultural heritage of Kashmir.
These all manuscripts and the other things speak volumes about the rich past of Kashmir which is now buried under the dust of Modernity.
According to the people working in Meeras Mehal, which is housed in a two story building, and from the entrance itself the fragrance of past is felt, and where every side presents an unseen picture of the glorious past we barely know and have left behind, Late Atiqa Bano would take every pain to search for the ancient artifacts and would sometimes pay from her own pocket to get the old things from people.
Besides the manuscripts are the photographs of political, cultural and literally personalities of Kashmir.
There are also some old ornaments of copper and silver, coins, headgears, different designs of pherans that changed overtime, some old Burkhas, a Zapan or Doli. The old footwear mostly not in use.
Some other items preserved are earthenware, grass works, dresses, woodcraft, old paintings, stone crafts and even some fossils. And a big coffin of old times. Meeras Mehal has also some copies of an old weekly newspaper Diler.
Every artifact preserved speaks volumes about our rich past and the need to preserve it.
Late Atiqa Bano who besides being an educationist was also a woman’s rights activist and passed away on October 04 2017.
She did enough on her part to preserve the dying culture and now it’s the responsibility of the government to make this mission more successful. (KNB)