‘Ghare-Baire’, The Home and the world, is a museum inaugurated on 11th January, 2020 that focuses the diversity of Bengal’s art. The old Currency Building, at the corner of BBD Bag, has been refurbished and opened as a museum ‘Ghare- Baire’. Some of the artworks of ‘National Treasure’ artist are also displayed here. It is commissioned by Ministry of Culture Government of India and organized and curated by DAG in collaboration with National Art Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA). The main motive for commissioning the museum is to preserve the art work for posterity.
Kolkata, the City of Joy is former capital of India and the current capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. It is world famous because of its richness in art and cultural. Rather I would say, it the ‘Cultural hub’ of the country. It is the birth place of many internationally acclaimed artists like Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, Jamini Ray, Gaganendranath Tagore and many more. The famous Kalighat pat or Kalighat painting originated in the vicinity of Kalighat temple, West Bengal. Mainly the painting portrays mythological characters, activities of our daily life etc. To preserve the artwork and to venerate the artists, ‘Ghare-Baire’ museum is commissioned by government. It is gem of the city and the government has been assiduous in the restoration work of the museum.
The iconic Italianate-style Old Currency Building is turned into the museum. The building was founded in 1833 to house the Agra Bank. Later, 1868, the bank made way for the Office of Issue and exchange of Government Currency. From then, it came to be known as Currency Building.
The large black colour wrought iron gate enhances the beauty of the building. At the entrance there is a portico. It is a three storied building and the white colour makes it more elegant.
The reception is on left side and the deposit counter is in right. Visitors have to deposit large bags at the counter. The red lights hanging from the ceiling is the center of attraction.
After the reception, there is corridor that leads to upstairs. The vibrant green colour tiles along with white in the skirting of the corridor grabbed my attention.
Swath of photographs covers the wall of the wooden stair case.
The artworks of the artists are displayed in first floor.
The Jack arch roof at first floor are beautifully designed.
In 1970, the federal government of India declared the artworks of 9 artists as “National Treasure”. They are also known as ‘Navaratna’ or 9 gems. Among them, 6 artists were from West Bengal. The artists who are known as 9 gems are – Rabindranath Tagore, Amrita Sher-Gil, Gaganendranath Tagore, Jamini Roy, Nandalal Bose, Nicholas Roerich, Raja Ravi Varma, and Sailoz Mookherjea. The artworks of some of the ‘Navaratna’ artists are displayed in the museum with biography of the artists.
The museum also displays biography of some famous artists.
The architecture of the building is astonishing. It was a notable structure because of its arched windows and thick wall. The center of the building was atop by series of 3 domes held up on iron joist, till some decade ago. Sky-lights were provided near the dome to let in the natural light. Marble and Chunar sand stone were used in flooring. The building was in use till 1994 and after that Archeological Survey of India was given the responsibility to conserve the structure.They tried to keep the building in original character with the help of old photographs. Bricks used for the restoration were baked in special kiln and skilled artisans were deployed. The meticulous restoration is the outcome of ‘Ghare-Baire’.
At ground floor, a corner of the museum is devoted to Oscar winner film maker, Satyajit Ray.
The main of attraction of the building is the open to sky at ground floor. When I stepped in, I was spellbound. Previously there were domes. The ASI has tried best to restore the structure but it was too late to save the series of dome. The blue sky from the broken domes looks amazing from this place. The space is beautifully designed. There is a large fresco of goddess Kali. The entire structure looks immensely beautiful.
Bengal art is most fascinating and exciting art practice in the world. The diversity in art work is the magnet that attracts travelers to visit City of Joy. The museum is pride of Kolkata. It is temple for art lovers. It is the heritage of modern Kolkata. I simply fall love with the museum not only because of its rare collection but also for the marvelous architecture.
HOW TO REACH
By train – The nearest railway station is BBD Bag. Circular train runs in the route daily. If you are coming from Howrah, the easiest way is to avail the jetty service of Fairlie. Buses are available from Sealdah station toBBD Bag route.
By Bus– Nearest bus depot is BBD Bag bus terminal.
BBDBag is an historical place. There are many things to visit near the museum. For a one day trip, you can also visit GPO, Metcalfe Hall, Millenium Park, Princep Ghat, St. John Church, Lal Dighi and Howrah Bridge.
You can also troll in New market, which is one of the oldest market of Kolkata. The market is just 3.3km from the church.