Friday, August 21, 2009

Directorate of Archaeology, Archives and Museums Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

[ETA: the website linked below was hacked last time I checked (April 2019). Try these: and]

The Archives division of the Madhya Pradesh Directorate for Archaeology, Archives and Museums can be found at Banaganga Marg (Banganga Road), at the base of Shyamla Hills, next to the Hindi Granth Academy.

If you are doing research on Holkar or Gwalior (Scindia) State, this is the place to start. The Archives hold material relating to the Central Provinces, Gwalior, Bhopal, Indore, Madhya Bharat, Maihar and Nagod States. I was looking into Gwalior State Records. Most of the material made available was English language, early 20th century, but here the official description of their holdings (including records in Nagpur, etc.):
  • The record available at the Central Provinces and Berar, Madhya Pradesh Central Record room, Nagpur is from 1799 to 1920. The post 1920 series is maintained in the General Administration Department, Mantralaya, Vallabh Bhawan, Bhopal.
  • The Holkar State Records - available in Bhopal and at Indore Repositories is from 1818 to 1950.
  • The Scindia State(Gwalior) records are from 1802 to 1948. They are located in Bhopal repository.
  • The records of Bhopal State are from 1914 to 1948. The series of pre 1914 records are with the National Archives of India, Bhopal Branch.
  • The Madhya Bharat State Records are from 1948 to 1956 and are available in Bhopal.
  • The Narsingarh State Records are available in Gwalior Repository and some of the records of Nagod and Maihar State is available in Rewa Repository.

The facilities are a little sketchy at the Bhopal repository, in that every time it rained, the reading room flooded. I spent a lot of time reading with my feet in the air. There did not seem to be any sort of catalogue available, but the Assistant Archivist, Mr. Meena, helped me sort through three cabinets of Gwalior material in search of relevant records. Although the official opening hours for Bhopal office start at 10 or 10:30, there's really no point in going before 11:00. Ask whomever you see to find Mr. Meena--his desk is in the corner office in the Holkar record room.

Photocopying is pretty pricey here, the most expensive I've encountered in India at 20Rs./page. Still, Mr. Meena helped me consolidate pages, so it worked out to about That's still higher than anywhere else in India.

Accommodations: I've been staying at Ivy Suites (they are working on a new website), which is at the very top of Shyamla Hills. It is about a 20 minute walk down the hill to the Directorate, and a 30 minute walk back up the hill. To avoid much of the hill, you could stay at Ranjit's Lakeview, but that would be a more anonymous hotel experience. Within one block of Ivy Suites are the luxury hotels Jehan Numa Palace Hotel and the Hotel Lakeview Ashok. These are both very nice, but I can't imagine any research budget stretching to include such luxury. You can find awesome french fries at the coffee shop at Jehan Numa, though.