By LB THAPA FOR ONTOTHEROAD.COM
The Gurung community has established a superb museum the first of its kind in Pokhara. The museum was established by the efforts of Tamu Pay Lhu Sangh, Pokhara at Shaktighat in 1990. It has a fine collection of traditional objects, old manuscripts, artifacts, memorabilia, clothes, jewellery, agricultural tools etc.
The objective of this museum is to preserve Tamu (Gurung) history, culture, language, customs and traditions. The museum has also made a sincere effort to present the Gurung lifestyle in interesting ways through various mediums such as models, paintings, posters and dummies in Gurung traditional dress.
Another attraction of this museum is its unique location. It is on the outskirts of the city and below it runs the normally turbulent Seti River in a flat open area; usually the Seti River is quite elusive and runs through unseen channels beneath the ground.
As the museum has a large collection of various objects representing the Gurung way of life. The objects have been displayed very attractively. The upper floor of the museum has been partitioned and each section displays various aspects of the Gurung culture and lifestyle.
As you enter the museum there is a beautiful dummy of a Gurung lady who is weaving a piece of cloth on a handloom. This aptly portrays the life of the Gurung village women who spend a great deal of time on their handlooms and produce most of the clothes. Unfortunately, the invasion of modern life has largely displaced handlooms in many villages. However, many Gurung, Thakali, Newar and other ethnic groups still rely upon handlooms in villages to produce the clothes they require.
There is another group of vibrant dummies, which represent three Gurung women with all their finery. Since the jewelry is of pure gold, they are kept behind thick protective glass. Some of them are dhumri, simundri, naghu, bijbanda, tillauri (marriage necklace), naugedi, piru, hamelmala, dhalmara, phuli and mharata.
Alongside these women, there are three revered priests in traditional attire whose job is to perform ritual sacraments during birth, marriage and death. Priests hold high status in their community and the people have unswerving faith in them.
On a large table there displayed several tiny models of different kinds of agricultural tools which are used in the farmland. Besides all, there is a bow, an arrow and a quiver on the table. Bow and arrow were used by the older generations for hunting and defending their colony.
Next to this is a wooden case that contains a wonderful collection of invaluable old manuscripts that shed light on the early history and literature of the Gurungs. Beside the case is an open rack displaying musical instruments used during ritual ceremonies.
A large model of a Gurung house is impressive. On the porch of the house, family members mourn the death of one of their family. The house and the life-sized dummies are excellent works of art.
Apart from Nepalese visitors, the museum has been receiving a large number of foreigners. Many foreign visitors show keen interest in art, culture and rich tradition of Gurungs. The museum is very important to research scholars who want to make a thorough study about the origin and development of the Gurung community in Nepal. The museum is open from 10 am to 5pm in all seasons.
How to get there
The museum is located on the bank of the Seti River, which is about 1.5 km from Naya Bazaar. The visitors can take any means of transport to get the museum.
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