Dream of a British officer to start a museum at the temple town of Khajuraho took almost 105 years to realize. When the museum comprising six galleries and rare sculptures would start next month at the main temple complex, it would be a tribute to W A Jardine — then local officer of British government in Bundelkhand, who during his posting at Naugaon was amazed at the sculptures in Khajuraho and wanted their conservation.
Museum with about 700 sculptures and its first gallery, ‘Pratibimb’ (reflection) will be open to public, Archaeology Survey of India sources said.
Posted 68 kms from Khajuraho in Nougaon, Jardine wanted the architectural remains of the ruined temples scattered all over the region to be preserved, according ASI website.General/Accounts/Technical/Depot) – 2015
He collected and preserved them in an enclosure built adjoining to the Matangeshwar Temple in Khajuraho. And this open air collection continued to be known as Jardine museum until the Archaeological Survey of India took over in 1952, when its name was changed to Archaeological museum, it added.
This open-air museum is being used for preserve collection and the public entry is prohibited inside this enclosure.
Ninety three years after Jardine’s efforts, deputy prime minister in NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lal Krishna Advani laid foundation stone of the museum and the construction started on a sprawling 5 acre land in the main temple complex. The museum was brain child of Union culture minister Jagmohan, who is said to have ideated and even designed it, sources said.
Though the museum was complete, it was not yet started by the ASI, a senior official of the organisation said adding, till Ravindra Singh union cultural secretary landed at Khajuraho last week and expressed his displeasure over the delay.