A 2,300-year-old Egyptian mummy in Jaipur’s Albert Hall Museum was taken out of its box for the first time in over 130 years to save it from drowning after heavy rains lashed the city last week.
The Egyptian mummy gifted by Brughsch Bey, then curator at the Museum of Cairo, to Sawai Ishwar Singh, the ruler of Jaipur at the time was first brought to India in 1883 for an exhibition. One of the only six mummies in India, amongst the others in Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Hyderabad, it was named Tutu after a teenage girl belonging to the Ptolemaic dynasty, the last dynasty of ancient Egypt that lasted from early 300 BC to 30 BC.
The water from rains that took place on 14 August and 15 August gushed inside the museum, causing heavy damage to several antiques, files, maps and old documents. According to local media reports, around four-feet of water had gathered inside the museum and in the head office of the state’s archaeological department. The mummy was kept in the museum’s basement when heavy rains lashed Jaipur. Scores of people had to be deployed at the Albert Hall Museum to restore the antiquities and ensure that the files that have been damaged are dried up.
Rakesh Chholak, superintendent at the Museum, said in his interview, “As soon as we were informed that the basement was getting waterlogged, we rescued the mummy after breaking the glass-box. We brought it upstairs.”, The Print reported. “It is difficult to assess how much damage has been caused, but our priority is to save whatever we can.”
Diya Singh, a BJP MP from Rajsamand and member of Jaipur’s royal family, took to Twitter Tuesday to express shock at the large scale destruction of “treasures” kept at the Albert Hall Museum. “Torrential rain & rampant disregard by the government of Rajasthan have washed away the treasures of the past. Absolutely shocked to learn about the damage to Albert Hall, the Central Museum of Jaipur,” she wrote.