New Delhi: A 2,300-year-old Egyptian mummy in Jaipur’s Albert Hall Museum was taken out of its box for the first time in over 130 years to save it from drowning after heavy rains lashed the city last week.
Several antiques, files, maps and old documents were damaged in the rains that took place on 14 August. According to local media reports, around four-feet of water had gathered inside the museum and in the head office of the state’s archaeological department.
The mummy was first brought to India in 1883 for an exhibition in Jaipur as a gift by Brughsch Bey, then curator at the Museum of Cairo, to Sawai Ishwar Singh, the ruler of Jaipur at the time.
The mummy was kept in the museum’s basement when heavy rains lashed Jaipur.
Rakesh Chholak, superintendent at the Albert Hall Museum, told ThePrint, “As soon as we were informed that the basement was getting waterlogged, we rescued the mummy after breaking the glass-box. We brought it upstairs.”
Chholak said the entire museum staff has since been involved in rescuing the remaining antique pieces. “It is difficult to assess how much damage has been caused, but our priority is to save whatever we can.”
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Mummy named Tutu belongs to Ptolemaic period
The Egyptian mummy named Tutu was from a family of priests who were devotees of Kehm in Egypt’s Penopolis. Tutu was a teenaged girl belonging to the Ptolemaic dynasty, the last dynasty of ancient Egypt that lasted from early 300 BC to 30 BC.
It is one of only six mummies in India. The others are in Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Hyderabad.
Diya Singh, a BJP MP from Rajsamand and member of Jaipur’s royal family, took to Twitter Tuesday to express shock at the large scale destruction of “treasures” kept at the Albert Hall Museum.
“Torrential rain & rampant disregard by the government of Rajasthan have washed away the treasures of the past. Absolutely shocked to learn about the damage to Albert Hall, the Central Museum of Jaipur,” she wrote.
Kumari also said old maps, artefacts and several records have been destroyed. “That adequate measures for their protection had not been taken is a sad commentary on the concerned departments.”
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