Buddha museum coming up in India

by Ayesha Arvind, TNN, Jun 2, 2011

GREATER NOIDA, India -- The life and teachings of Lord Buddha will soon be immortalized in a museum-cum-research centre solely dedicated to the seer and founder of Buddhism in Greater Noida. In its board meeting earlier last month, the Authority approved the construction of a state-of-the-art Buddhist Museum and Research Centre spread over 25 acres of land within the Gautam Budh University campus.

Estimated to cost Rs 84 crore, the museum, the first of its kind in the country, will house art galleries, research and development centre, exhibition centre, classrooms, sculpture sections and several cultural workshops. The museum will also have a cafe, multimedia rooms and expansive gardens.

According to the Authority officials, the aim of the project is to introduce the origin and history of Buddhism, as well as various cultural assets associated with the world renowned religion and above all provide at the same time, for those "students and researchers studying about Buddhism, provide an avenue and resources for better understanding of Buddhism," said an Authority official.

Being designed and conceptualized by architecture firm CP Kukreja and Associates, the ambitious project will boast of novel design concepts that will integrate modernity with the vintage Buddhist architecture. "Even though it will be an integral part of the university, it will be open to the public. The overall structure will blend with the existing landscape and yet have the character of a public space," says Dikshu Kukreja of the firm. Kukreja had also designed and conceptualized the Gautam Budh University.

While it will draw the obvious inspiration from Buddhist temples, museums and Nalanda University, the idea is to infuse modern elements like glass and concrete with the traditional features prevalent in Buddhist architecture, stressing on tranquility and natural lighting and sustainability. "The main building will be of three-storeyed, however, it will be designed such that it will appear like a single, seamless structure, blending with the surrounding landscape," says Kukreja. Use of glass instead of pillars will give it an open feel and provide ample natural lighting.

The concept and the design of the magnificent structure is ready, work on the same will begin in about two months and will be completed within 18 months.

The Museum will also exhibit precious antiques statues and sculptures and architectural remains related to the life and teachings of Buddha and his followers. Currently, the architects are working out collaborations with various indigenous and foreign museums and universities to source and collect specimens. They are also aiming at coordinating with other cultural and educational organizations for disseminating Indian and particularly Buddhist philosophy and culture.

"We are finalizing one such collaboration with Ryokuku University in Japan that already houses a Buddhist Museum. We are also working out several such collaborations," Dikshu Kukreja says.