Didarganj Yakshi (Yakshi means female earth spirit), also known as Didarganj Chauri Bearer, is one of the most remarkable piece of Mauryan art. The statue is believed to be approximately 2300 years old, possibly made during the reign of Ashoka the great. It is currently placed in the Stone Sculpture Gallery on the ground floor of Patna Museum. Being positioned in middle of the hall and bathed in focused light, the shining statue attract the eyes of visitors as soon as one looks towards the gallery.
This life size statue, measuring five feet four inch in height, is carved out of a single piece of sandstone brought from the Chunar near modern Patna. The highly polished sculpture has been a hallmark of Mauryan art. The statue was found on the bank of river Ganga at Didarganj in Patna in 1917. It is said that this statue was submerged near the river bank in an upside down position whereby its flat base was exposed to the ground which had been subsequently used by the local people for washing clothes for a long time. However, one day a snake sneaked beneath the stone and villagers while searching for it, uncovered a part of the statue, and this led to the discovery of the famed statue. The women is holding a Chauri (Fly whisker) in her right hand, whereas her left hand is missing. The upper part of the body has been given a finesse touch whereas the lower part is not as beautiful. She is seen wearing heavy ornaments. The perfection of the statue can mesmerize anyone.
The statue has been displayed at exhibitions in many countries and has won appreciation for its remarkable design. The statue was a part of the exhibition held in New Delhi after independence to show case the exquisite art of ancient India. The Didarganj Yakshi has been projected as the hallmark of the Indian art at the international level. However, during transportation on one such occasion, its cheek got damaged. The statue can be an envy of any museum. However, the statue is still not enclosed in a glass case and people often touch its polished surface, which may harm the statue in a long term. It is one of the most prized collection of Patna Museum.