The Katchchh Museum at Bhuj initially formed part of the School of Art established by Maharao Khengarji III on 1-7-1877.  It is the oldest Museum of Gujarat.

    At the time of Rao Khengarji's marrige in Februry 1884 an exhibition of Katchchh arts and crafts was organized in which 5897 items were exhibited.  Of these exhibits then worth Rs. 3,300/- were given to the Museum at the termination of exhibition.  These exhibits necessitated the construction of new building.

    Accordingly, on November 14, 1884 the foundation stone for present Museum building was laid by the then Governor of Bombay Sir James Ferguson.  The two storied building was designed by the State Engineer, Mc Leland and was constructed at the cost of Rs. 32,000/-.  The Maharao named the Museum after Sir Ferguson.  Till Independence the Museum remained a preserve of the Maharao who showed it only to his personal guests.  The Museum was open to the public only on important religious occasions.

    After independence, the Museum was thrown open to the public and through usage came to be known as the Katchchh Museum.

    The Museum is situated ideally almost on the banks of the beautiful Hamisar lake and just opposite the Nazar Baugh garden.  It is mainly regional and therefore of immense interest to tourists who want to know about Katchchh before going into the interior. In other word it serves as a guide to this district.  It has eleven sections.


Crown: This 20th cent. golden Mukut is from Narayan Sarovar. It is very neatly made. Its size is eye pleasing and is studded with semi precious stones.

Then there are three tombstones of the Jews collected from a now extinct Jewish cemetry. The epitaphs on these stones are written in three languages - Hebrew, English and Marathi, these being respectively languages of religion, administration and mother tongue of the Jews.

To the right of the central room are displayed life size models made of paper pulp representing the tribes of  Katchchh  namely Bharwad, Kanbi, Wanki Mahajan and Koli. Ornaments and objects of their daily use are also displayed.

The gold crown of Lord Vishnu acquired from Narayan Sarovar is indeed a very fine creation studded with semi precious stones. There are also biscuit boxes, fruit dishes, surai, napkin rings, glasses, trays, ash trays, coffee pots etc. Enameling work was also famous. A few specimens of buttons, cigarette boxes with enamel are also on display.


Buddha seals : (9th cent.These seals have been found from Kateshwar.  They are made on unbaked clay and it is survived so long.  They show Lord Buddha in Bhumi Sparsha Mudra.

The  archaeological section has two Indus seals one from Khirsara and a square one showing a unicorn from the famed Indus site of Dholavira. There are also other finds such as cylindrical beads. bangles made from conch shells and perforated pottery found from various sites in katchchh. the  two seals from kateshwar cave depicting Lord Biddha in Bhumi Sparsha Mudra are fascinating. Such seals were found in large numbers from kateshwar  which means that Buddhism prevailed in Katchchh at least till  the 9th Century AD., the date of these seals.

Notable sculptures include a Raasmandal from Kera.

This 10th century piece with eight couples with perfect physical features and appropriate gestures is superbly made. A chowkidar with typical headgear and weapons from Mandvi is also remarkable.

Airawat : (18th cent).  This wooden masterpiece is of seven trunked snow white elephant of Indra.

    On the ground floor in the central room is displayed Airavat a seven trunked snow white elephant of Indra.  Each of the trunks is crowned by a temple.  This 18th century wooden masterpiece from Mandvi shows Indra going to worship Tirthankar.  The body of the elephant is painted in the local kamagiri style with flowers and creepers.  Govt. of India issued a postal stamp showing this Airavat to commemorate the Museum Centenary in 1978.

    The section on inscriptions has a dozen inscriptions.  Most of them are Kshatrapa inscription.  The oldest Kshatrapa inscription is dated Saka eleven (A.D.'89).  Found from Andhau this is the most important Saka inscription.  It mentions the name of the founder of the Saka dynasty, Chastan.  Since its year of erection is closest to the beginning of the era, it also suggest that the founder of Saka era could be Chastan.  Moreover it takes bake the Kshatrapa rule by 40 years as earlier it was believed that their rule started from Saka 52 based on inscription found earlier.  Yet another inscriptio9n is of Abhir ruler Ishwardev (332 AD).  This is the only Abhir inscription Gujarat.  According to late Dr. V.V.Mirashi this inscription is of Saka year Six(A.D.84).

Stone tablet : This is of 89 A.D. It is the oldest Kshatrapa relic.  It is dated 11 saka which being closest to the beginning of Saka Era, it is presumed that the ruler 'Chastan' mentioned here is the founder of that era.
Vishnu : This 13th century black marble Vishnu image is from Bhadreshwar. It is remarkable as both Chakra and Ahankh are depicted in human forms.
Garuda : This 20th century Vahana of Lord Vishnu in black marble is shown in votive posture and holding a sharp weapon between his two palms. He pierces the hood of the serpent. It shows that though a man should be humble but at the same time capable of destroying the evil.

Paintings showing the different vocations of Katchchh drawn a hundred years ago are on display. A 60ft long scroll showing Muhurram procession and another 51ft long scroll showing Nag Pancham Swari are also noteworthy. Both these festivals were representative of the secular traditions of Katchchh.

A 10th century copper plate of Gujarat ruler Bhola Bhimdev mentioning some grant of land and the hand writing of Kavi Dalpatram (who learned the art of poetry in Bhuj) and of Dadabhai Naoroji are on display.

Indus Pottery : (2000 BC) This pottery has been found from various indus sites. The glass is quite similar to our present day glass. A potshard with peacock shows that Indus people were lovers of art.

Buddha Bronze : (7th cent) By far the most precious of Museum objects. The standing Buddha has an inscription on the pedestal which informs that the image is made by one Nagsing in memory of his Guru Kirtidevi. It proves that Buddhism allowed women to assume priesthood as against Hindu sanctions against their womenfolk studying scriptures.

There is a bronze image of Lord Buddha with a Brahmi inscription informing that it was erected by one Nagsing in memory of his Guru Kirti Devi. This proves that Buddhism allowed women to be priests - It was a reformist movement.

The wooden doors from Roha Kotda (where the poet Kalapi had married) are also on display. The doors  from Narayan Sarovar are a treat for the eyes. They have designs of flower  and each one of them is done differently.


Rogan Cloth : (20th cent) In this type of work the cloth is painted in half with designs in vegetable colours and then folded when still wet. The other unpainted side gets the impressions also. Then it is dried in the sun.

Coins :Katchchh State had its own currency. A small section shows gold silver and copper coins of various denomi nations. The section has a ten Kori as also some Kori currency notes which never became legal tender due to some obscure reason.

One can see mint machinery as also coins from almost every country of the world.


Surando: This Musical instrument is in vogue. But since it is very difficult to play few would have it.

The section on musical instruments shows classical instruments like the Veena, Dilruba as also a few folk musical instruments like the Kani, Nagfani, Morchang etc.

Morchhal : The pair of morchhals are held as fly whiskers to the king. The peacock feathers being endowed to keep evils at bay as per the belief. The king used to be flanked by the bearers.

Dish : Round silver tray testifies to the skill of the craftsman as well as the wealth of the people.


Ornamented doors : This  early 20th century workmanship is from Narayan Sarovar. The floral designs are done with great imagination.

The paintings on the wooden doors of a Jain temple of Mandvi show the chowkidars done in  Kamagiri style of painting, In a room on the first floor are on display ornaments of gold and silver done during the late 19th and early 20th century in Bhuj.

Raas Mandal : This is a  ceiling piece from Kera temple (10th cent. AD). It is known as Halishak type of dance in which eight couples with perfect anatomical features with instruments are depicted.

A small plaque in low relief showing Surya image is very important find from Rayan. A sun head of Dolatpur datable to 3rd century AD is also very finely done. Yet another sculpture of Parvati in local costume is also remarkable. There are beautiful sculptures of Kubera, Garuda, Vishnu etc. also on display.

There are various types of stone tablets. The oldest is dated 1332 VS of Waghela  ruler Sarangdev. Yet another interesting tablet of land grant shows the figure of a cow and boar which was meant to inhibit encroachment by either a Hindu or a Muslim as the killing of these animals is a taboo in their respective religions. The encroachment would tentamount to eating beef or pork as suggested by these figures.


Saranga Raag :  This painting is taken from an 18th century Raagmala. Here Saranga is depicted in stylized form. The  choice of colour and fineness are quite remarkable. Moreover the Raagmala is in Gujarati.

A bell shaped cannon from which huge hollow balls filled  with pieces of stone, glass and iron used to fired, a sword with a Serrated edge and a dagger cum pistol are the other attractions of this section.

The knives and nut cracker industry of Katchchh is very well known. A few specimens of knives and nut crackers are view.

Fatteh Mohd Cannon : This cannon was received as a gift from Tippu Sultan in about 1795 in return for the permission to Tippu to purchase Katchchhi breed of horses. It is remarkable for it has an Arabic inscription  over it.

The arms  and ammunition section displays swords, shields, spears, guptis, daggers, pistols and bayonets. A cannon with an Arabic inscription is a gift of Tippu Sultan to the army chief Jamadar Fateh Mohmad made in 1790s.

Philately : The section on philately shows postal and court fee stamps of the native states as also of the post independent India arranged thematically. A board displays the stamps showing world personalities issued by various countries as also air mail labels used by them.

Centenary: The Centenary building added in 1978 has a section on natural history. Lion, Tiger, Deer are all shown here for the benefit of  the children. The fossilized conch shells and wood fossils found from various parts of Katchchh are also on display. But the main attraction of this section are model of Wild ass and Flamingo as these are a peculiarity of  this region. Other birds and mammals are also displayed. The Crocodiles caught from Hamirsar tank are displayed as also the first ever caught Python and Pangolin from Katchchh.