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Meeras Mahal Museum, showcasing Kashmir’s rich cultural heritage, becomes a reality

Ambreen Khan – Ziraat Times

Sopore, November 26 – This Saturday, 25th of November, marked a significant milestone for the preservation and celebration of millenia-old Kashmiri heritage with the soft inauguration of what was once seen as a dream – the Meeras Mahal Museum in Sopore.

The museum, founded by a visionary educationist and cultural activist namely Atiqa Bano (1940-2017), houses a remarkable collection of over 7,000 artifacts that provide a glimpse into the everyday lives of Kashmiri people from centuries past.

The inauguration event saw the presence of some of the most distinguished proponents of Kashmir’s cultural heritage, including Mohammad Saleem Beg, convener of INTACH Jammu & Kashmir chapter; Mohammad Shafi Pandit, former chairman of the Jammu & Kashmir Public Service Commission; M. Amin Bhat, president of Adbi Markaz Kamraz (AMK) Jammu and Kashmir; Muzamil Bashir Masoudi, president of Meeras Mahal Museum; Dr. Rafeeq Masodi, patron of AMK; Jaspreet Kour from Punjab, a generous financial supporter; Former DDC chairperson Mrs. Masarat Kar; Additional Deputy Commissioner Baramulla; and a host of literary figures, civil service officers, students, cultural activists, and media personalities.

The museum’s collection spans centuries, encompassing a diverse array of objects that were integral to the daily lives of Kashmiris. From traditional utensils and household items to intricate handicrafts, from agricultural tools to farming artifacts, musical instruments, and manuscripts, each artifact offers a window into the past, revealing the ingenuity, creativity, and resilience of Kashmiri people.

Meeras Mahal Museum is seen as a testament to the enduring spirit of Kashmir, preserving and showcasing the region’s cultural legacy for generations to come. It is now widely recognised as a beacon of knowledge, inspiration, and cultural pride for all who step through its doors.

About Meeras Mahal

Meeras Mahal Sopore is a private museum in Sopore, some 48 kms from Kashmir’s capital, Srinagar, that houses a collection of over 7,000 artifacts showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the Kashmir Valley. On Saturday, the Meeras Mahal Museum unveiled a new exhibition titled “Kashmir: A Tapestry of Traditions.” This exhibition highlights the diverse traditions and customs of Kashmiri people, spanning centuries of history. It features a wide range of artifacts, including traditional clothing, utensils, handicrafts, and musical instruments.

“The inauguration of the new exhibition is a significant event for the Meeras Mahal Museum and the Sopore community. It marks an important step in the museum’s mission to preserve and promote Kashmiri heritage for future generations”, Saleem Beg, one of the active promoters of the museum and Kashmir’s overall cultural heritage, told Ziraat Times. 

About Late (Mahrooma) Attiqa Bano

Attiqa Bano was a renowned educationist and cultural enthusiast of Kashmir who played a pivotal role in establishing the Meeras Mahal Museum. She was born in Sopore and grew up surrounded by the rich cultural heritage of her homeland. From a young age, she developed a deep appreciation for Kashmiri art, handicrafts, and traditions.

In 2001, Bano’s passion for preserving and promoting Kashmiri heritage led her to establish the Meeras Mahal Museum. She converted her ancestral home into a museum, transforming it into a treasure trove of Kashmiri artifacts. The museum’s name, “Meeras Mahal,” translates to “Palace of Heritage,” aptly reflecting its mission to safeguard and showcase the region’s cultural legacy.

After completing her education, Bano dedicated her life to education and social work. She helped establishment of several schools in Sopore and surrounding villages, providing educational opportunities for children from underprivileged backgrounds.

Other institutions and figures who have helped to transform Meeras Mahal into a reality

Since the demise of Late Attiqa Bano, some of Kashmir’s prominent cultural activists and experts have worked tirelessly in transforming the dream of this private museum into a living reality. One of the proponents is Saleem Beg, former director general of Tourism Department, J&K, and head of the J&K Chapter of Indian National Trust for Architectural and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). His knowledge of Kashmiri heritage and his network of contacts were instrumental in expanding the museum’s collection. He also played a key role in designing and laying out the museum’s interior, ensuring that the artifacts were displayed in a manner that reflected their cultural significance and historical context.

“It is an extraordinary feat. There are still several aspects of Kashmiri cultural heritage which need to be preserved and showcased here. This private effort would require more support and resources. And we believe it would serve as a one-stop place for posterity to understand Kashmir’s cultural history and its significance”, Mr Beg said.

One of Kashmir’s leading cultural institutions – Adbi Markaz Kamraz (AMK) – has been actively engaged in supporting the development of the museum.

“This museum is a treasure for the newer generations of Kashmir. It needs further development and support”, said M. Amin Bhat, president of Adbi Markaz Kamraz (AMK) Jammu and Kashmir.

Dr. Rafeeq Masodi, patron of AMK, said on the occasion, that the soft inauguration of the museum was  a great tribute to Late Attiqa ji, who is laid to rest close to the museum site. 

“Acquire a vast collection of artifacts, including traditional clothing, utensils, handicrafts, and musical instruments was no ordinary effort. It is a testimony to one great dream and collective efforts of several other people who wanted this museum to develop and flourish”, Mr Masoodi said.  

For more detailed information about the museum and for donations, please visit the website

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