This unique museum is an extraordinary feat of a single person for his dedication, enthusiasm and passion towards collecting unique objects from many parts of the world. This private museum was established by Diwan Bahadur Radha Krishna Jalan in 1919 AD. The unique collection consists of close to 10000 objects, which includes objects of stone, terracotta, glass, porcelain, metal and ivory, beside having numerous other object from the globe, mostly belonging to the modern period. This museum possesses some of the antique pieces and art objects that are hard to get anywhere else in the world.
The museum is situated in Patna city area, beside the bank of Ganges, built on a part of the erstwhile Quila fort, the fort built by Sher Shah Suri in 1541 AD. Some remnants of that fort is still visible in the form of wall bordering the river. Art connoisseur R. K. Jalan bought this piece of property from the Nawab of Gaya in Rs 30000 after he was mesmerized by its beautiful location beside the Ganges. The old Bungalow was severely damaged in the 1934 earthquake after which R K Jalan asked the designer to construct an earthquake resistant new Bungalow in English and Dutch style, with full architectural beauty. As a result, the current masterpiece building was constructed, with a beautiful open veranda and scenic view of Ganges.
R K Jalan traveled far and wide to gather the unique object. On his trip to the London on the occasion of Silver Jubilee celebration of King George V, he collected rare things, manuscripts, old sculptures, furniture, historical items etc. He extended his trip to Scotland, France, Germany, Switzerland and Egypt and collected many valuable objects. On his trip from the pyramids of Giza in Egypt, he even brought one Mummy, which was ultimately donated to a Government museum due to the objection of his wife. He brought three wagon loads of valuable artifacts at the end of his three month trip !!!
The museum has many things which amazes the visitors. The collection includes rare manuscripts in Hindi, Sanskrit, Tibetan and Siamese of 16th and 17th century,16th century idol of Surya Dev (Sun God) from Orissa, 11th Century Chamunda idol, 400 years old silver dining set and worship items of Raja Birbal, excellent Bidri arts artifacts, porcelain items from China and Chinese idols belonging to 7th to 10th Century AD., glass watch, Humayun's sword, jade stones (260-200 BC) of Han period, palanquin of Tipu Sultan, Cabinet of King Henry II of France, distinctive Murano crystals from Venice, and numerous other items that are on display in the Northern side of the building, spread across four halls, each having a different theme.
During its existence of more than 90 years, this museum has hosted a number of distinguished guests - Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai, Rajendra Prasad, Manek Shaw, Nepali Royal Family members, Mark Shand, Bhairo Singh Shekhawat, Raj Kapoor, Nargis, Sunil Dutt, Shree Rajnish, Sankracharya, Anadmayee Ma, many ambassadors, and many others who got down in the city to witness this amazing collection. The museum has found references in many books. The National Museum in New Delhi has a collection dedicated to the museum, named "Jalan Collection" where collection of ancient gold and silver coins, gifted by Jalan family, is on display. Jalan Museum is a private museum and its visit can be made only after prior approval/appointment by the family. The visiting hours is 9 AM to 11 AM from Monday to Saturday and from 10 AM to 4 PM on Sunday.
Jalan Museum has been spreading the fragrance of the city across the world for more than 90 years. The amazing collection by one man has amazed the commoners as well as the distinguished guests. The City has got fame due to its unique collection of the museum and the way it has been managed privately during the last century and the hospitality offered by the Jalan family. We salute the zeal and spirit of R K Jalan in particular and Jalan family as a whole for collecting, maintaining and preserving this unique collection.