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The quite but impressive building of Khuda Baksh Oriental Public library is situated beside the busy road of Ashok Rajpath. It is a national library. The coveted status has been granted by a special act of the Parliament in 1969. It is a treasure house of the Urdu literature, possessing some of the rare manuscript found nowhere else in the world. It has a repository of 21,000 oriental manuscripts and an impressive collection of more than two and half Lakh books. It is an autonomous organization under Ministry of Culture, Government of India and is managed by a board having Governor of Bihar as its ex-officio chairman.
The library was a private collection of Mohammad Baksh which was later expanded and enriched by his son, Khuda Baksh after whom the library is named. Khuda Baksh inherited 1,400 manuscripts from his father and devoted his life in expanding and conserving the collection. He even hired a person and send him to Arab countries to get the rare manuscripts. He constructed a two storey building in 1888 and opened it for public a year later with 4,000 manuscript housed inside the building. He died in 1908 in the very premise he created and loved. Owing to the importance and collection of the library, central government elevated it to the status of national library in 1969, thus giving it a much needed boost for expansion and conservation.
Today, this library attracts scholars from different parts of the world. Besides having wonderful collection in Urdu literature, it also has rare manuscript written in Persian and houses many handwritten manuscripts. The rare books belonging to the Mughal period and Muslim Sultanate are worth mentioning, well preserved with hand-made paintings reflecting the life, culture and society at that time. The estimated 21,000 manuscripts includes splendors of arts of Iranian, Mughal, Central Asian, Kashmiri and Rajasthani Schools written in Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Turkish, Hindi and Sanskrit language. It also includes the manuscripts written on palm leaves and excellent calligraphic. some of the rare manuscript are Timur Nama, Shah Nama, Padshah Nama, Diwan-e-Hafiz, Safinatul Auliya etc.
The library has its own printing press. It publishes books at regular interval, including a journal at every three months. It also has a Conservation lab which takes care of the old manuscripts. Digitization of the manuscript is also being undertaken. It specializes in Islamic studies, Unani medicine, Medieval history, Asian history and many other things. The campus houses a reading room, called Lady Curzon reading room, where one can enjoy reading the newspapers and magazines. The main building houses reading rooms where specific books can be read. However, for seeing the rare manuscripts, a prior permission is required. The back of building has a books selling unit from where one can buy the relevant books.
The Library is a place of national importance and the collections are worth viewing. Hence, one should not forget this place while visiting the city.
How to reach:
It is situated in the Ashok Rajpath and easily reachable by autos or private cab. Traffic congestion can be troublesome in the Ashok Rajpath.
Patna Junction ~ 5-6 km
Airport ~ 10-11 km
Mithapur Bus Stand ~ 8-9 km
Nearby Places :