Public Spaces

Sudha Cars Museum, Hyderabad Taking your imagination for a ride

Sure there’s the Charminar and the world-famous biryani and alleys filled with perfume and culture. But if you done exploring that side of the city, buckle up. We’re taking you on a joyride to Sudha Cars Museum in Hyderabad

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Everyone loves to play with toy cars as kids. But young Sudhakar didn’t stop there. He never let anything get in the way of his passion and imagination.
At the age of 14, he created his first car collecting the necessary articles from junkyards. And the very next year, he made his first ‘Easy Rider Motorbike’. He tried his hands on a four-wheeler when he was studying in Intermediate II year and created a stunning, rugged-looking ‘Dune Buggy’.
He took his passion forward and as he grew up so did his fondness for making peculiar and unusual vehicles. So, he decided to do just that and in 2010, he opened the gates to Sudha Cars Museum in Hyderabad. Just 6 kms off the city, this museum guarantees you a day of bizarre fun.
Conceptualised and created entirely by Sudhakar Yadav, this museum really takes one’s imagination for a drive. Even if you’re not a car lover, the sheer art and creativity is bound to impress you. It is simply imaginative and innovative.

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There are cars in almost every shape you can see around you in your daily life. An ornament train with its bogies in the shape of jewellery, of bridal dresses, a pool table, a bed, and there’s a replica of the famous red London Bus.
He’s also built India’s smallest train. It can seat up to 10 people, is just 19 feet long and took just 20 days to

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complete. Yadav also happens to hold a Guinness World Record for the same.
In 2005, he built the world’s largest tricycle and rode in the streets of Hyderabad. It had an overall height of 41.6 ft. The wheel’s diameter was 17 ft, and the length was an impressive 37.3 ft.
Yadav and his museum are also mentioned in the Limca Book of Records and have also been featured on Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
His cars may look absurd and unusual, but they are completely functional. Some have the controls neatly hidden away in the body. Imagine going to work in a car shaped like a handbag, a toilet seat or a cricket bat.
In his museum, there are some vintage cars replicas too. They have been created from common everyday cars, and material from unusual places. A basic Maruti car has been turned into an unrecognisable form of a classic car.
There’s even a Rolls Royce lookalike with a Fiat Padmini engine. Indian classic cars are on display here as well for the automobile enthusiast looking for something beyond sheer novelty.

Unique vehicles
A small information board in front of every car tells you more about it; it’s year of making, body type and the time taken to create it. These unique vehicles could take about 20 days to even three years to be ready.

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Yadav also likes to build bikes and cars to commemorate specific occasions. For Children’s Day, he built a pen, pencil, and pencil sharpener fleet. For Women’s Day, he made stiletto and handbag-shaped cars powered by a nimble 6cc engine, and for World AIDS Day, he crafted a condom-mobile.
The museum also displays almost 30 designs of bicycles, each with a unique look and a catchy name like Penny Farthings, Made for Each Other, Tandems, and so on.

What makes the collection even more impressive is the fact that most of the vehicles are customised and have been built using old and unwanted parts from junkyards all around the city. These backyard-made cars cost about Rs 1 lakh to manufacture. And none of his creations are for sale.
Yadav regularly wheels them out for public celebrations, road shows and parades.
The surroundings of the museum are also dotted with interesting objects made from junk found in a scrapyard.

There are bugs made of motorcycle parts, park benches created using suspension coils, and everything that makes you smile.
You might not learn about important historical events or get to witness scientific experiements, but this museum sure takes creativity for a spin. The cars are well-maintained enough to tempt you to take them out for a drive. Visit it any day between 9:30 am and 6:30 pm at a nominal entrance fee and you are sure to walk out smiling thinking of new shapes cars could be made of.

Warangal Fort, Telangana Masterpiece of the Kakatiya dynasty

Time travel might still be limited to sci-fi books. But if you want a trip down to the 13th century, you could head to the Warangal Fort in Telangana. A relic of the past, this fort is a marvelous spectacle of the Kakatiya dynasty

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TIME only makes history look even more beautiful. One such stunning example is the Warangal fort in Telangana. Built on a hillock Ekashila in the 13th century, this fort is one of the most significant architectural masterpieces of the Kakatiya dynasty.
The Warangal Fort stands as a worthy example of the historical opulence of the region during the reign of Kakatiya. The tri-city of Warangal-Hanamkonda-Kazipet is known for the Kakatiyas and Telugu culture.
Head towards the southeastern side of Warangal and you will not miss the grandeur of the fort even from a distance. Its architectural excellence and historical richness live up to the reputation. Warangal fort is sure to impress you with its imposing structure.
To ensure safety of the royal family, it was built in three layers of fortification. Although now in ruins, the remains of the fort still present a glimpse of the mesmerising craftsmanship and breathtaking artistry that can be seen in the motifs, sculptures, stonework and more throughout the fort.
Warangal fort has witnessed many battles and various invaders have destroyed parts of it. The remains of the fort have been recognised as a monument of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India.

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Kakatiya Rudradeva started the construction of Warangal fort when he shifted his capital to Warangal from Hanamkonda centuries ago. It was built under the leadership of Kakatiya Ganapatideva, one of the most illustrious rulers of the dynasty. The fort was considered to be an invincible seat of power.
Under Ganapatideva it was planned in such a way that it breathed protection for all dwellers. The fort boasts of three-layered fortification. The first is a 40-ft high mud wall; the second is a granite wall, closely fitted together. This was done with no mortar, showcasing another sign of architectural masterpiece. The third ring is where the main fort stands.
The fort was built as Ganapatideva had shifted the capital of the Kakatiya kingdom to Warangal from Hanamkonda. Later his daughter Rani Rudrama, who also ruled Kakatiya, looked after the completion of this fort.
This fort withstood many attacks and the destroyed parts tell its tales. In 1309, Malik Kafur, who was the general to Alauddin Khilji, had launched an attack on the fort during the rule of Prataparudra II. A large army attacked the fort in a battle that lasted for many months.
It also faced the wrath of the Sultans of Delhi. Eventually the Qutub Shahi dynasty took control of the fort, which later

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came under the rule of Hyderabad Nizams.
Even after each onslaught, the fort held on to its grand beauty and stature. It is spread across 19 sq km and consists of around 45 towers. But the most attractive part of this fort is the ‘Gateway of Glory’.
This elegant gateway consists of four impressively carved massive pillars that have been built out of a single rock. Standing strong these pillars are around 30 feet high and present intricate carvings. These majestic gateways are also known as Kirti Toranas and represent the south Indian architectural style.
In the middle of the fort, there is a temple dedicated to mother Earth named as Swayambhudevi Alayam. It is said to have been built by Qutub Shahi kings.
Warangal fort has many ruins and the central part has been recognised as an archaeological zone. The ruins of Shiva Temple are another aspect of the fort that should not

Warangal fort has many ruins and the central part has been recognised as an archaeological zone. The ruins of Shiva Temple are another aspect of the fort that should not be missed. You can also see wall slabs, entrance pillars, ceiling panels, relics and many small shrines along the tour.

be missed. You can also see wall slabs, entrance pillars, ceiling panels, relics and many small shrines along the tour.
The main deity of the temple, Linga, with four faces of Lord Shiva has been kept in a shrine towards the southern complex of the fort. Regular prayers are still offered to this deity. The fort complex is also dotted with ponds and various small temples.

These remains offer an insight into the fort structure and of the Kakatiya era. Inscriptions on the pillars and the walls also speak about the period during the reign of the Kakatiyas.
The light and sound show in the evening should not be missed. After all, you wouldn’t want to go back from a fort without feeling like a king.

Brain Museum, Bangalore

A Thought provoking experience

WORDS: AMOGH PUROHIT

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Ever wanted to do something eerily thrilling but wanted to keep it mellow and educational at the same time? Then you should consider heading to the Brain Museum in Bangalore. With over 400 specimens, this one is sure to pick your brains.

In the unsuspecting corners of Hosur Road is a museum dedicated to the human brain. Fondly called the Brain Bank, it is the brainchild of Dr. S K Shankar, professor and head of the department of neuropathology at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) for the past 32 years.
The neuropathology department has been collecting brain specimens to use them in training their students for the past 35 years. In 2010, they began displaying at a one-of-a-kind Brain Museum. It has a collection of over 600 brain specimens.
Neatly stacked in glass jars and display units, it seems like a scene out of a terrifying sci-fi film.

During the autopsy of various patients, permission was taken to take parts of their brain for research. In the process, the team has stumbled upon some fascinating revelations that were otherwise not seen through MRI scans.
Then a brainwave struck Dr Shankar. He wanted to share this knowledge with the rest of the world and let people come and see how the brain looks, what kind of diseases can affect it and how the mind works.

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Sociological problems
Many brain diseases are related to sociological problems. The whole idea of creating a special museum dedicated to the brain was also to spread awareness about them.
For instance, cerebral venous thrombosis, which is often a postpartum phenomenon, is common in Karnataka because women are not given fluids after delivery. Their blood becomes thicker leading to this condition.
It all starts off in a tiny classroom adjoining the museum. Dr Shankar or members of his team first bring in a real skull. Next comes a real specimen of the human brain. If you are not too light-hearted, feel free to touch and feel. Once you are over the chills running down your spine, your guide will show you the parts of the brain and their functions. Did you know, an adult brain weighs around 1.2 to 1.4 kg?
Stepping into a huge white room full of brain samples of various sizes gives you a sense of creepiness. Then it hits you that once these brains were living and thinking; little did they know that they will be preserved in glass jars and will be on show for years to come.

You can see glimpses from across the animal kingdom here. There’s a tiny chicken brain, brains of a duck, mouse, rat, and a cow. Animal brains too have similar emotions as those of humans but the number of neurons are very different. For instance, a human has 86,000 million neurons compared to 200 million in rats and 6,376 in monkeys.
You then move onto fetuses and trace the beginning of brain development in humans, including those that tragically fail to develop a brain – a condition called anencephaly.

Head injuries
And if that isn’t eerie enough, there are brains with head injuries that have suffered intra-cerebral hemorrhage or parts of the spinal cord that were injured. Often persons who meet with an accident can’t remember what had happened before or during the accident.
In the tour, Dr Shankar or his team member show samples of a similar brain, which had probably lost its memory as the fibres going to the frontal cortex were disconnected.

Then come an array of brains that have been damaged with conditions like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Cerebral Palsy. Others are of accident victims, many of who could have easily been saved if only they had a helmet or a seatbelt on. Now that’s some lesson on road safety.
There are two brains that have shrunk in size to an extent that they seem like miniatures. These were brains of Alzheimer’s patients whose nerves had dried and the size had shrunk.
There are those with abscesses that are commonly caused by infections that enter the brain when you clean ears with pins or pencils. And in the end are specimens with neuro-infections such as tapeworm eggs that affect your brain or the amoeba that brings death should you inhale it in an unhygienic swimming pool.
If you plan to visit this mind-boggling museum, make sure you plan it on Wednesday or Saturday. They have guided tours on those days. The entry remains free. It sure does make you think about the one vital organ that does all the thinking.

Maharaja’s Palace, Mysuru

If you ever were to give an example of fine luxury and grandeur to a friend, you could take them to the Maharaja’s Palace in Mysuru. This official residence of the Wodeyar dynasty is a visual spectacle

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First built in the 14th century, entirely out of wood, the palace is a testament to the irrepressible spirit of the people of Mysuru and the kings that have lived there.
The current palace is the fourth built up from the ground and was completed in 1912. Designed by British architect Henry Irwin, the palace is a worthy example of the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture that blends together Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic architecture.
The history of the palace is action-packed with battles, politics and misfortunes. In 1638, the palace was struck by lightning. It was rebuilt by Kantirava Narasa Raja Wodeyar. He even added new pavilions.

But after the death of Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar the kingdom plunged into political instability and became prey to Tipu Sultan in 1793.
Just six years later, upon his death the Wodeyar dynasty took charge of the palace again and commissioned a new one in its place in 1803. This wooden palace too faced misfortune and was burnt to the ground at a wedding ceremony.
In the last chapter of this tainted and charred history of the palace, its destiny was passed on to queen regent Kempananjammanni Vanivilasa Sanndihana. She commissioned the masterpiece that we marvel at today for a whopping ₹42 lakh in 1912.

Mysuru Palace, also known as Amba Vilas Palace, is located in the heart of the city; it was planned with all roads branch out of the palace boundaries. Surrounded with an aesthetically designed vast garden, the palace is a three storied building, built with stone and marble domes.
It also has a five-storied, 145-ft high tower. The most striking feature of the palace are its deep pink marble domes on top of grey granite, which was designed by Irwin. Its portico is designed with seven vast arches while the central arch is bordered by two smaller ones, surrounded by tall beautiful pillars.

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The front of the palace has an open balcony supported by massive circular columns. The beautifully designed square towers at various cardinal points are covered with domes.
And if you are floored by the arching exteriors, wait till you get inside. Just as you enter, the Doll pavilion welcomes you. Antiques made of gold, silver, marble, ivory from around the world are on display, some of them are over 900 years old.
The palace holds so much history that it feels like walking through a gorgeous museum that treasures souvenirs, paintings, jewellery, royal costumes and other items, which were once possessed by the Wodeyars.
It’s a kaleidoscope of stained glass and mirrors. The tastefully decorated and intricately carved doors open into luxuriously decorated rooms. The ground floor with an enclosed courtyard displays costumes, musical instruments, toys and numerous rich portraits.
The upper floor houses a small collection of weapons and hunting equipment from the time when the royals would go for game-hunting as a sport.
The beautifully carved mahogany ceilings, solid silver doors, white marble floors and superb columned Durbar Hall are breathtaking. The palace is a treasure house of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world. Exquisitely carved doors open into stunningly luxurious rooms.
And if you head south of the palace you will enter the marriage pavilion or the Kalyana Mantapa.

This colossal hall has an octagonal gabled roof, covered by stained glasses. The flooring of this magnificent Kalyana Mantapa has artistic geometrical patterns created using glittering glazed tiles imported from England. And it all comes alive under the light of many dazzling Czechoslovakian chandeliers.
The royal throne, the regal seat is called the Chinnada Simhasana or Ratna Simahasana; captivating artwork on its gold plates is displayed during the Dasara festival.
The Maharajas of Mysuru used to sit on the golden throne and hold durbars in the Palace Durbar Hall. The paintings of eight manifestations of Goddess Shakti and an original painting of the renowned painter Raja Ravi Verma adorn the walls of the Durbar Hall.
This royal extravaganza also houses the oldest temple in Mysuru. The Sri Lakshmi Ramana Swami Temple is said to have immense power and there are urban legends to support this claim. Kodi Bhairava Swamy Temple is another important one in the palace. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva, in the form of Bhairava.
All this charm and magnificence amplifies during the world famous Mysuru Dussehra Festival. Stages are set up in the palace ground where many famous artistes perform.
On the 10th day, when the festival of Dashami is celebrated, a parade with highly ornamented elephants is conducted from the palace grounds. The festive fervour during this time at the palace and in Mysuru is something that every traveller must experience at least once.

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And during this festival, the palace is lit with 96,000 lights for two months. This in itself will leave you speechless. If you are planning a visit, do not miss the sound and light show. It will probably be the most interesting history lesson you ever attend.

LEGENDS MOTORCYCLE CAFÉ AND MUSEUM, BENGALURU

Probably the only place in the world where you will get free advice on engine oils along with your plate of Biryani. Mount your saddles as we rev through one of India’s most unique museums.

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A way from the city’s humdrum, Frazer town is a quiet suburb in Bengaluru. Right in its heart, on 15, Wheeler road is Legends Motorcycling Cafe & Museum, the first of its kind in India, is the offspring of a two-decade love affair between a man and his mean machines. The two-storied building, tastefully Gothic-like, which houses the museum, along with a café, has a satisfyingly retro air about it. Everything is vintage about this place, and each object seems like it has a mysterious tale to be explored.
An unstoppable biker, S.K. Prabhu says he biked down each and every highway across the country. And at 42, he is living the dream of countless men. He not only started this beautiful café and museum but also a vintage motorcycle cult amongst the youth.
One enters into the café and is welcomed with a homely vibe and a lot of themed furniture. The quotes and biking collectibles convince you to spend the afternoon. The ground floor is the dining area and the flight of stairs takes you back to post war era. More than 20 vintage, well-kept motorbikes line the walls. All of these bikes are in prime condition and Prabhu rode them there himself. Prabhu started collecting in 1992 and is always on the lookout for the next vintage bike that will adorn his wall. Although, the cream and red-hot Cezeta, a 1962 model scooter from

Czechoslovakia — more of a slightly overweight darling amid the other macho motorcycles — is definitely the showstopper.
In the in-house café on the ground floor, the mood is set with some jazz and blues only punctured by the low din of bikers discussing engines and spare parts over authentic south Indian coffee. This is the only floor that serves food. The old record player, the hand-operated coffee grinder and the roasted Arabica beans, they take this café to a completely distant and nostalgic place. The odd five or six tables are unique on their own and sometimes just not enough for all the bike enthusiasts that flock the café and museum, especially on Sundays.

The seating arrangements are all wood and give a rustic feel. The salon-styled high chairs against a massive wooden bar table remind you of stories from the Wild West. Everything on that floor gives you a very ‘been there, done that’ look. As if everything there has been through an adventure. Just to break monotony they also have one Singer sewing machine table. The tables, chairs and even the refrigerator are conspicuously classic.
The crockery is mixed and matched, making you feel like you’re having snacks at a friend’s place.
The menu is handwritten and it lists various options for breakfast lunch and even dinner on all days, probably because this could very well be one of the only

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A stroll will make you pause and admire the made in England, militarymodeled motorcycles of the Second World War like the Norton 500 cc and James ML 1942 Hand-gear.

museums that stay open to all from 6 am to 11 pm. You can pick from eggs and toast to a full plate of biryani and paya.
One thing you wont find a dearth of, are photo frames. In fact in one corner you will even find the pictorial chronicles of owner Prabhu’s biking adventures. Prabhu thinks the older generation of motorcycling still brings in the crowds and takes pride in keeping this spirit alive. Some of the motorcycles he’s acquired took a lot of time and effort to get to his museum.

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Some of them had to be imported from countries like the United Kingdom and New Zealand. A few of the motorcycles date back to the 1920s and 1930s.
A stroll will make you pause and admire the made in England, military-modeled motorcycles of the Second World War like the Norton 500 cc and James ML 1942 Hand-gear. There is also an American 1962 Whizzer. The BSA collection, Mr. Prabhu’s favourite and hung on the wall, includes a 1924 BSA 250 cc with round tank and carbide lamps, a 1928 BSA 500 cc flat tank with carbide lamps, and the BSA Bantam D1 1962-1966. The BSAs are all made and imported from the UK. Among these bikes, a 1962 German Florette, NUS and a DKW Hummel take the cake. Prabhu maintains and takes care of these bikes on his own. He takes a little too much care of the Italian Lambretta Innocenti 1960.
Often you can see a huddle of bikers outside, in the parking lot of the café. For some this has become a hangout spot and for some, just a quick stop at their

favourite café on the way to work. Crammed with an astonishing collection of motorcycles whose vintage dates back to 1924, this museum has all the ingredients to write a small portion of biking history. And with an unconventional host, a vintage setting and filter coffee along with rare rides, Legends motorcycle café and museum makes for a worthy Sunday trip.

HISTORIC MONUMENTS JANTAR MANTAR AND MUMBAI MUSEUM

MANY historic monuments over the years have become an integral part of the nation’s culture. Today, we take a walk though the timelines of two such structures that have become a vital part of India’s history – Jantar Mantar in Delhi and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in Mumbai

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JANTAR MANTAR
Located in the heart of New Delhi, Jantar Mantar holds a special place in the hearts of the people of the metropolis. Comprising of 13 huge architectural and astronomical instruments, it was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II; he built five across western and central India.

1724
There’s much confusion about the year of construction of the Jantar Mantar. A plaque was placed at the site in 1910, mistakenly suggesting the year of construction to be 1710. Archaeological research revealed the construction to have begun in 1724.

1763
His son, Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh I refused to pay allegiance to the Kacchawaha kings since succeeding to the leadership of the Jats. Soon after the construction of the Misra Yantra, one of the four distinct astronomical instruments at the Jantar Mantar observatory, it was looted by Maharaj Jawahar Singh

1795-1803
The observatory was mentioned in the collection of aquatints of British artists Thomas and William Daniell as the Observatory at Delhi.

1846
Even Syed Ahmed Khan, the 19th century philosopher, Islamic reformist and scholar, in his record of the historic buildings of Delhi, Atharal Sanadid, stated that the instruments have fallen into disuse and are almost in ruins.

1852
Raja Rama Singh II of Jaipur commissioned conservation work for the most imposing Yantra of the observatory, the Samrat.

1867
More than a century after its construction, the Jantar Mantar had decayed considerably. It had reduced to picturesque ruins.

1909 – 1910
Although negotiations had begun as early as 1889 between the Delhi District Board and Jaipur State, the elaborate restoration project began in 1909.

1960
The Yantra became intriguing architectural shapes or archaeological remains. The symbolic, spatial and functional link between Yantras and the Bhairon temple had been severed. Hence, a wall and a gated entry was built between the two in 1960.

2000
The gate was sealed in 2000 to introduce a ticketing system for the observatory.

2009
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) nominated Jantar Mantar for world heritage inscription in 2010 for cultural sites.

2014
Once known for its historical and architectural importance, Jantar Mantar has now become the unofficial designated protest site in Delhi.

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CHHATRAPATI SHIVAJI MAHARAJ VASTU SANGRAHALAYA
One of the oldest museums in Mumbai, it has strived to preserve documents and photographs, especially related to its history.

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1904
Eminent personalities including Sir Phirozeshah Mehta, Justice Chandravarkar, Justice Badrudin Tyabji, Narotamdas Gokuldas, David Sassoon, Jamshetjee Jeejeebhoy and Kikabhai Premchand got together to create something unique on August 14, 1904, in the form of the museum, to honour the visit of the Prince of Wales

1905
The foundation stone was laid by the Prince of Wales and the museum was named after him. It soon started collecting important documents, art pieces and relics to display.

1909
Architect George Wittet, the then consulting architect to the government, was appointed to design the museum building.

1911
The statue of Prince of Wales, sculpted by George T Wade, was donated by David Sassoon to commemorate the visit of Prince George and Princess Mary of Wales.

1909
Construction of the building began in 1909 and was completed in 1914. The cost of the block and the necessary additions and alterations amounted to about rupees nine lakh.

During, the construction, the collection was stored in the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society basement, now known as the Asiatic Library.

1914
During World War I, the building was used by the military as a hospital and subsequently for the Children’s Welfare Exhibition.

1915
The museum acquired Indian miniatures and other antiquities from the well-known collection of Seth Purushottam Mavji, which were once a part of the treasures of Nana Phadnis (1741-1800), a minister in the Peshwa period.

1919
The famous excavated artefacts from the Buddha stupa of Mirpurkhas were brought to the museum by its excavator Henry Cousens.

1921
The building was formally handed over to the board of trustees by the Public Works Department.

1922
The museum was opened to the public by Lady Lloyd, wife of Lord Lloyd, the Governor of Bombay.

The major art collections of Sir Ratan Tata and Sir Dorab Tata were bequeathed to the museum. The Tata collection comprises two major sections, the European and the Far Eastern. Some outstanding Indian antiquities such as textiles, arms, bronzes and paintings formed part of this magnanimous gift. Lady Ratan Tata donated the furniture for the galleries.

1934
The museum was also enriched by the gift of antiquities from the Sir Akbar Hydari collection.

1995
A very interesting and valuable collection was added from Karl and Meherbai Khandalavala Trust.

1998
The Prince of Wales Museum was renamed as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, after the city was renamed Mumbai in 1995

2010
The textile gallery, the first in the city, was launched in April.

2017
New galleries were launched in July, highlighting the early phase of the JJ School of Art and the progressive art movement.

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