Odisha Maritime Museum opens Monday

Once a breeding ground for dangerous insects, Jobra on Monday turned a hotspot for visitors with the inauguration of Odisha State Maritime Museum. The museum was inaugurated by chief minister Naveen Patnaik here on Monday on the occasion of Utkal Divas.

Besides projecting the maritime practices and traditions, vessels and artifacts, glory and achievements from the ancient age to the colonial era and beyond, the museum is also set to include an aquarium showcasing unique marine life and species found in this part of the globe.

The 1500 sq ft aquarium will comprise 11 exhibits housing different species of the marine life along with the biology of the rivers in Odisha and the Bay of Bengal. The focus would be on bringing out the distinctive features of Odisha in terms of marine ecology. It would showcase species exclusive to this region as well as the rare life forms.

“The aquarium would be constructed at a cost of ` two crore and would be ready in six months. The museum will be one-of-its-kind in the country,” said Executive Engineer, Mahanadi South Division, Subrat Das.

Spread over four acres, the museum has been set up at the ancient Maritime Engineering Workshop on the banks of river Mahanadi.
Odisha State Maritime Museum
The museum has been designed and developed by Indian National Trust for Art and Culture (Intach), constructed at a whopping Rs 10.75 crore. It has 13 galleries showcasing the maritime artifacts of ancient Odisha, including the antique machines of the workshop.

“Except Monday, the museum would remain open for the visitors on all working days. An entry fee of Rs 10 will be collected from the visitors, which will be used for the maintenance of the museum. For group tickets for persons above 25 years (30 visitors in a group) Rs 200 will be collected,” said Subrat Das, the executive engineer of Jobra irrigation division.

However, no entry fee will be charged from students and children below 10 years, Das added.

A library has also been constructed on the museum premises. An open air auditorium with a seating capacity of 250 has been designed for recreational activities. Visitors also appreciated the sprawling cafeteria. Besides, a research centre, restaurant, souvenir shop, children activity room, multimedia hall and a temporary exhibition space have also been provided for the visitors.

The maritime workshop was one of the oldest workshops in the country. It served as the irrigation and navigation headquarters of the British regime in Orissa and Bengal.