Research Feature > Arna Jharna, the desert museum


‘Arna-Jharna’ means ‘forest’ and ‘spring’. Unlike most museums where what is of value is encased inside, Arna Jharna includes the desert, its environment and its inhabitants as its exhibits. Created by the late Komal Kothari, one of India’s leading folklorists and oral historians, the Arna-Jharna Museum is an interactive learning experience linked to traditional knowledge systems.

Once an abandoned sandstone mine surrounded by a harsh and dry terrain, the Arna Jharna Museum used rain water harvesting and created a lake which has become the haunt and nesting ground of birds, including the peacock. The area now also has a rich biodiversity of indigenous grasses, cactus, and the resilient trees of the desert.

Meena women at the museum

Exhibition on Brooms:

“What seems totally insignificant, if not disposable, is what holds the world together in its capacity to clean and order space. The broom brings us into contact with grasses, plants, and other botanical resources. In rural Rajasthan, village women make their own brooms from whatever is available in their environment–leaves, twigs, shrubs, and waste material.”

The Museum looks at different kinds of brooms, the broom making communities, the way brooms are made and the future of this industry. The Museum welcomes artists and researchers, organises art workshops for local children and interactive folk music sessions.

Arna Jharna aims to share the nuances of rural life practices and knowledge systems. The museum is open to all and specially welcomes schools, universities, youth organizations, researchers, artists and activists to interact with them.

< Arna Jharna: The Desert Museum of Rajasthan, Village Moklawas, Jodhpur, Rajasthan. For more information on the museum and the Broom exhibit, visit their website. >
All images courtesy the Arna Jharna website.

3 Responses to “Research Feature > Arna Jharna, the desert museum”

  1. 1 Mee

    Who would have thot a humble broom could be seen as an art form, certainly wouldn’t have been able to without your help K!:)

  2. 2 amol

    Thanks for sharing nice article. good luck.

  3. 3 Sudha

    It is really fascinating to see something that most consider as mundane being elevated to an art form.

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