The torrential downpour that hit Jaipur last week has inflicted heavy damage on rare manuscripts, artefacts and paintings stored in the basement of the famous Albert Hall Museum in the Rajasthan capital. The storage space was under 5-foot-deep water.
The last time the museum artefacts suffered similar damages was in 1981 during the Jaipur floods. It is by a stroke of luck that a 2400-year-old Egyptian mummy remained safe as it was inside a case. Mud pumps were put into service to take out the water from the museum.
It is for the first time the Egyptian mummy that had been brought from Cairo around 130 years has been taken out of its case. The mummy is of a priestess by the name of Tutu. It was found in the Akhmin area of the ancient city of Panopolis. The mummy was earlier on a special display on the upper floor, but it was shifted to the basement in April 2017.
The museum is situated in the Ram Niwas Bagh of the city. Its basement houses over 18,000 exhibits from across the world. They have been put out to dry in the halls of the museum. According to Rakesh Chholak, museum superintendent, it would take months to assess the actual extent of the damage.
Prakash Sharma, the director of Archaeology and Museum Department, said, “There was five feet water in the office and basement of Albert Hall. So all our correspondence files have become wet. We are trying to dry them, but it is difficult as the weather is still overcast.” He however added, No material of archaeological importance has been damaged.”
While authorities are trying to take stock of damage and salvage what is possible, the museum has been closed for tourists for a week.