About LDII
LDII

Founded in the year 1956, the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Institute of Indology at Navrangpura, Ahmedabad, is dedicated to the collection, preservation and restoration of ancient Indian manuscripts and artifacts. It provides scholars a wonderful opportunity for research and study. This prestigious Institution came into being as a result of the efforts of two visionaries - a revered Jain saint- Agamprabhakar Muni Shri Punyavijayji Maharaj, and a philanthropic industrialist Sheth Kasturbhai Lalbhai.

Agamprabhakar Muni Shri Punyavijayji Maharaj, besides being a revered Jain saint, was a learned scholar and a dedicated researcher. In the course of his frequent travels through Gujarat and Rajasthan he came across numerous ancient hand written manuscripts. All of them required proper conservation, preservation & cataloguing. He made it his life’s mission to ensure that the priceless heritage of manuscripts was properly preserved, studied and made available to scholars. With this objective, he scientifically reorganized several Granth Bhandaras (manuscript holdings) and catalogued their collections. Moreover, he acquired numerous manuscripts from various sources where proper facilities for their preservation did not exist. As such collections grew, he became increasingly aware of the need for a suitable place where these rare and ancient manuscripts could not only be housed and properly taken care of, but also studied in depth and be made available to the scholars for reference and research.

Sheth Kasturbhai Lalbhai was then a leading Industrialist. He was a devout Jain, had great respect and regards for Muni Shri Punyavijayji and was closely associated with him. It was but natural, that Muni Shri expressed his wish to Sheth Kasturbhai on the urgent need for setting up an Institution for the preservation of manuscripts and their use for research.

A man of rare foresight and wide-ranging interests, Seth Kasturbhai had been instrumental in promoting and setting up of numerous educational institutions in Gujarat. He took Muni Shri Punyavijayji’s idea to heart and founded the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Institute of Indology in 1956. Initially work started at in the L. D. Vada (residence) in the walled city of Ahmedabad.

To set up this institute in a special building, Sheth Kasturbhai, with the whole-hearted support of his family members, came forward with a handsome donation. Muni Shri Punyavijayji most graciously gave his complete collection of over 10,000 rare Manuscripts, many of them illustrated, and over 7,000 rare books. This formed the nucleus of the L. D. Institute of Indology’s core collection.

 The Main objectives of the L. D. Institute of Indology

  • To collect invaluable treasure of the past and preserve ancient manuscripts for the benefit of posterity.
  • To provide facilities to the scholars for study and research in Indology a
  • To undertake publications of critical editions of unpublished manuscripts.

The Institute is a recognized research institute by the Gujarat University for promoting doctoral and post-doctoral studies in Sanskrit, Prakrit and Ancient Indian Culture.

From its inception, the Institute attracted outstanding scholars in the field of Indological studies such as Padmabhushan Pragnachakshu, Philosopher Pundit Sukhalaji Sanghavi, the great linguist and scholar of prakrit language, Pundit Bechardas Doshi, scholar of Jainology and prakrit apabhramsa, Dr. H. C. Bhayani, historian and versatile scholar Prof. Rasiklal Parikh, sanskrit scholars Padmashri Keshavaram Kashiram Shastri, scholar in nyay, Dr. Jitendra Jetly. The Institute was fortunate in having the eminent Indologist Padmabhusan Pundit Dalsukhbhai Malvania as its Director from 1959 to 1975 and then as an adviser from 1976 to 1988. Dr. Naginbhai Shah, Dr. Ramesh Betai, Dr. J. C. Sikdar, Dr. R. M. Shah, Dr. Tapasvi Nandi and Dr. Y. S. Shastri have also made notable contributions, particularly in the field of research.

The Institute can take pride that the great freedom fighter and Gandhian philosopher and scholar Muni Jinavijayaji was also associated with it. Distinguished critics of Indian Art and Architecture like Dr. Umakant P. Shah, Dr. R. N. Mehta, Padmabhushan Dr. Madhusudan A. Dhaky, Dr. Padmanabh Jaini and other well-known authorities, were associated with the Institution. They have contributed immensely in guiding the Institute and the museum to its present stature.

The Institution has to its credit 154 research publications. Some of them like Treasures of Jaina Bhandars, Ramayana in Pahari Miniature Paintings, and Aspects of Jain Art and Architecture are widely acclaimed.

 

Digitizing of the collection 2019

 

A massive and ambitious project was begun in the year 2019 to digitize the thousands of manuscripts holdings of the LDII. A special data centre was established for this purpose. Digitizing promises the documentation and preservation of the original texts, at the same time facilitating greater access for scholars and researchers.

 

Library

The institution has a rich library of printed books. At present it has more than 60,000 books, out of which many books are rare, that is printed more than 100 years ago, and not reprinted so far.

The library catalogue list has also been digitized so that searching books online would be possible.  

Objective

1. To collect and preserve ancient manuscripts in order to preserve the valuable knowledge of the past.

2. To provide facilities to scholars for study and research of Indology.

3. To publish manuscripts edited and revised by scholarly researchers.

4. To display specimens of sculptures, architecture and paintings of historical significance and incomparable for the purpose of educational preservation.

 

 
Mission & Vision

Some manuscripts are considered rare in the repository of knowledge preserved in the institution. Such as Shankaracharya's Tripura Upanishad, Rangvijay written Gurjardesh Ravvanshavali, Boudhadi Panch Darshan, Pt. Ramachandra written mahavidyalankara, rucidattani tattvacintamani subodhika, OMC nyayakandali register, gopikanta written nyayadipa, Kumarasambhava-kiratarjuniya-Raghuvamsha criticisms etc., somamantrina son written yavananamamala, Persian language khimasagara written pascimadhima verses, vilasavati harmonies, rajimati-prabandhanataka, vivekamanjari, sitacarita, yoganibandha, Ramshatak, Hansnidan, Suragchandrodaya, Farsiprakash (Kosh), Yadusunder etc.

 

 
Our Team

Manuscripts on many subjects are preserved in this repository. Such as Vedas, Agam literature, Tantra, Jain philosophy, grammar, poetry, lexicography, medicine, astrology, etc. There is also a variety of languages. Such as Sanskrit, Prakrit, Apabhramsa, Old Gujarati, Hindi, Rajasthani etc. Many of these manuscripts are inscribed in gold ink, with some beautifully colored letters.

 

 
Facility

Rich knowledge base of the organization

The institute has a repository of more than 75000 manuscripts. Most of these have been given as gifts and for some long time as lawns for maintenance and safety purposes.

 

 
LD Museum
L D Museum

The Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum today is one of the finest museums of Indian art and coinage in Gujarat. It displays a wide range of sculptures, bronzes, manuscript paintings, miniature paintings and drawings, wood carving pieces, ancient and contemporary coins, and textiles, especially bead work art pieces.

History of the museum

Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Institute of Indology was established with the joint efforts and vision of Shri. Kasturbhai Lalbhai, a well-known and prominent Ahmedabad based industrialist, and Jain Acharya Muni. Punyavijayji.

Muni. Punyavijayji donated his personal collection of illustrated and un-illustrated manuscripts, bronzes and cloth paintings at time at the establishment of Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Indological Institute. With the passage of time the collection grew more and more prominent which created a need for an exclusive display of the artifacts. Thus, in 1984 a new building adjacent to the L.D. Institute of Indology was built by internationally acclaimed architect Shri. Balakrishna Doshi. The L.D. Museum was formally inaugurated by Shri. Brajkumar Nehru, the then Governor of Gujarat in 1985.

The museum was inaugurated with two designated galleries, Smt. Madhuri Desai Gallery (Ground Floor) and Muni Punyavijayji Gallery (First Floor). In 2004, a third gallery Priyakant T. Munshaw Gallery of coinage was added.

Over the years, the museum has developed and enriched with many new artefacts through the generous donations. Kasturbhai Lalbahi Collection of miniature drawings, Arvind bhai collection of sculpture, Gopi-Anand beadwork collection, Lilavati Lalbhai woodwork collection to name a few.

 

Museum building architecture

In 1984 a new building adjacent to the L.D. Institute of Indology was built by internationally acclaimed architect Shri. Balakrishna Doshi. The L.D. Museum was formally inaugurated by Shri. Brajkumar Nehru, the then Governor of Gujarat in 1985.

Mission & Vision:

The Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum has a mission to collect, preserve and display our heritage, making it accessible to the public for education and enjoyment. The museum promotes scholarship and endeavours to enrich viewers with the art and culture of our country.

The collection

The various galleries and sections in the museum have been named after their generous donors.

 

Indian sculptures: The Madhuri Desai Gallery

Jain miniatures, manuscripts and cloth paintings: Muni Punyavijayaji Gallery

Indian miniature drawings: The Kasturbhai Lalbhai Collection

Woodwork Collection Lilavati Lalbhai

Coinage: Priyakant T. Munshaw Gallery

Beadwork: Gopi-Anand Collection

Indian Sculptures: The Madhuri Desai Gallery

Situated on the ground floor, the wide-ranging sculpture collection represents the major regional styles of the subcontinent. The outstanding pieces include the largest head of Buddha (c.5th century A.D.) in stucco from Gandhara, the earliest cult image of Lord Rama (early 6th century A.D.) Gupta period from Deogarh (Madhya Pradesh), a rare figure of Matrika Indrani (6th century A.D.) from Shamlaji (Gujarat), the Adinath bronze image (c.7th - 8th  century A.D.) from Sirpur (near Nandurbar, Maharashtra), the splendid Jaina bronze images from Ghogha (Dist.Bhavnagar, Gujarat) and some of the finest examples of Buddha images from Mathura, Nalanda and Nepal/ Tibet. Besides, the Madhuri D. Desai Gallery includes some very superb Chola sculptures (c.10 -12 century A.D.) from Tamil Nadu. A majestic group of four Tirthankaras from Ladol dating between 11 and 13th centuries are displayed in Chaumukha arrangement. There are also on display 9 portrait statues of distinguished personages from Gujarat during the medieval period, which include the Solanki King, Maharaja

Jayasinha Deva (Siddharaj). The portraits are inscribed with the date of V.S.1285 = 1228 A.D. (that is, during the Vaghela period) and the find spot is Harij, near Patan.

Jain painted cloths and miniatures: Muni Punyavijayaji Gallery

The Museum has one of the finest collections of paintings in the Gujarati Jaina styles, some of which are painted before the Mughal period. The collection, which was assembled by the Muniji during 1940s, has some rare painted wooden book covers (patli) created for palm-leaf manuscripts. The Jaina pilgrimage painting on cloth executed in 1433 A.D. at Champaner (Gujarat) is the earliest example of such a painting on cloth. Similarly, a Vijnaptipatra invitation scroll painted at Agra by the Mughal painter, Ustad Salivahana, in 1610 A.D., is the earliest painted document of its kind. It refers to the Mughal emperor Jahangir's farman: declaration prohibiting the killing of animals in his empire during the Jaina festival of Paryushana. The earliest painted paper manuscript of the Shantinath Charitra, dated V.S.1453 = 1396 A.D. has been recognized as a global treasure by UNESCO. Other exceptional examples on show include, the illustrated manuscripts of the Kalakacharya Katha (c.1430 A.D.) in Mandu style, the Sangrahani Sutra (dated 1583 A.D.), painted by Chitara Govinda, the Shripala Rasa (18 century A.D.), and painted Vijnapatipatra (invitation) from Ahmedabad (dated 1796 A.D.) in the late Gujarati style; several rare cosmological diagrams called Adhidvipa (c.1440 A.D.) and the Jaina Siddha-Chakra-Yantra.

 

Lilavati Lalbhai Woodwork Collection. It highlights the age old tradition of wood carving and domestic architecture in Gujarat and other parts of India, mostly donated by the Late Smt. Lilavati Lalbhai. The display includes Jaina Ghara Derasara, relief panels of Tirthankaras, 14 dreams, symbols of Ashtamangal, Samavasaran and other symbolic forms, carved pillars and decorative panels.

Kasturbhai Lalbhai Collection of Indian Drawings comprises of over 1855 Indian drawings and unfinished paintings. They represent most of the schools of Indian miniature paintings. Initially the collection was formed nearly 100 years ago by the famous painter brothers Gaganendranath Tagore (1867- 1938) and Abanindranath Tagore (1871 - 1951) in Kolkata, in collaboration with E.B. Havell (1861 -1934) who initiated the Revival of Indian Art during the first decade of the 20th century. Eventually this prestigious Indian art collection was offered to Shri Kasturbhai Lalbhai, the leading industrialist and philanthropist of Ahmedabad where the great collection was shifted in around 1940.

These were then gifted to the LDII, and now are on display with the objective of understanding the technical and the creative processes of traditional Indian miniature paintings. This substantial collection is represented here by a display of several dozen exquisite drawings of Indian miniature paintings belonging to various regional schools, between 17 and 19 centuries. The significant themes on view are Ramayana series, court scenes and portraits.

 

Priyakant T. Munshaw Gallery of Coinage has on display a representative collection of historical phases of coinage of India, which was posthumously gifted by Smt. Nandiniben Munshaw in 2013 A.D. The collection includes the earliest punched-marked coins called bentbar (c.600 B.C.), Akbar's Din-i-Ilahi coin, Jahangir's Zodiac series in silver, Adil Shah's Larin (dated 1668 A.D.) and contemporary currency.

Gopi-Anand Bead Work Collection. The art of Moti Guthana or Moti

Poravanu is practiced mainly at Saurashtra and Kutch regions of Gujarat. This art has been in vogue since centuries but became wide spread during the late 19 century A.D. These patterns have been mostly used for household decoration and marriage ceremonies. Women of Kathi community in Gujarat have mastery over this art-form, who are fond of engaging in bead work for their domestic applications as well.

 

Objective

The museum was inaugurated with two designated galleries, Smt. Madhuri Desai Gallery (Ground Floor) and Muni Punyavijayji Gallery (First Floor). In 2004, a third gallery Priyakant T. Munshaw Gallery of coinage was designed.

Mission & Vision

Through the passage of time, museum has developed, flourished and added many new artifacts in its rich collection like Arvind Collection, Kasturbhai Lalbhai Collection, Gopi-Anand Beadwork Collection, Lilavati Lalbhai Woodwork Collection and The latest exclusive sectian included in this list is Pahari School Ramayana Drawings of Ayodhya Kanda collection on March 2016.

Our Team

The perfect mingling of art and history can be observed here. During 1956, Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Institute of Indology was established with the joint efforts of Shri. Kasturbhai Lalbhai, a wellknown and prominent Ahmedabad based industrialist, and Jain Acharya Muni. Punyavijayji. Muni. Punyavijayji donated his personal collection of illustrated and un-illustrated manuscripts, bronzes and cloth paintings at time at the establishment of Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Indological Institute.

Facility

Thus, in 1984 a new building adjacent to the L.D. Institute of Indology was built by internationally acclaimed architect Shri. Balakrishna Doshi. The L.D. Museum was formally inaugurated by Shri. Brajkumar Nehru, the then Governor of Gujarat in 1985.

N C Mehta Art Gallery
N C Mehta Art Gallery

Gujarat Museum Society’s NC Mehta collection of Indian miniature paintings and illustrated manuscripts, is housed in a special wing at the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum. A must see for connoisseurs of Indian art. Rich in content, diversity and stylistic approach, the paintings span geographical and historical time lines. Selectively handpicked by the collector, the miniatures are a pleasure to behold. Displayed aesthetically and chronologically over two floors, the paintings trace the evolution of the schools, styles and periods of Indian miniature art from the 15 to late 19th centuries.

 

History of the collection

Named after its collector, Mr. Nanalal C Mehta, who although a civil servant was renowned in the field of Indian art, as well for his scholarship in Hindi and Sanskrit literature. An art collector with a sensitive eye, who had an opportunity to be posted in the hills of Northern India, he selectively chose the gems of miniature painting wherever he was posted, at a time when royalty was disengaging with its collectibles. He wrote numerous documents on Indian painting. After his passing in 1958, his wife Shanta Mehta donated his collection to the Gujarat Museum Society.

Earlier housed at the Sanskar Kendra building till 1991, it was moved to a new wing at the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum in 1993, where it was formally inaugurated by the eminent art historian, Shri Karl Khandalavala.  

The NC Mehta Collection

Paintings in the Gallery have been arranged according to the evolution of schools, styles and periods. In the beginning we see early examples of miniature paintings of the Jaina and Sultanate Schools. The folios of the Jaina Kalpasutra and Balagopala Stuti represent painting in Gujarat during the 15th and 16th centuries. The Sultanate style is exhibited through the folios of the Sikander Namah.

One of the most popular paintings are the Chaurapanchashika series, i.e. the fifty love lyrics of a thief, composed by the Kashmiri poet Bilhana in the 11th century. The story goes that Bilhana, the poet, falls in love with Champavati. The fact comes to the knowledge of Champavati's father, the king, who orders the poet to be sent to the gallows. On the last day, in order to fulfill his final wish, the king allows Bilhana to recite his fifty verses. So pleased was the king with the poetic compositions that he gave his daughter in marriage to Bilhana.

Among other popular themes of Indian miniature paintings are the love poems of the Gita Govinda by poet Jayadeva, the Rasikapriya of Keshavadas, the Satsai of Biharilal, the Barahamasa depictions of seasons and the Ragamala musical modes in colours. Paintings based on epics like Bhagavata Purana and Ramayana are also represented in this gallery. The early Gita Govinda, c.1525 A.D. comprises of 159 paintings and is acknowledged a landmark of transition from Western Indian or Jaina style to early Rajasthani Painting perhaps experimented in Gujarat. It is a living document of the shared culture and tradition of Gujarat and Rajasthan.

On the ground floor, the fine examples of Jain miniature painting highlight the contribution of Gujarat to the development of Indian painting. Then follows the display of Rajasthani paintings belonging to sub-schools of Mewar, Bundi, Kotah, Bikaner, Jodhpur and Jaipur, including few Mughal period portraits.

The first-floor gallery houses a large section displaying Pahari paintings from the collection. These include some of the masterpieces of Basohli, Guler, Kulu-Mandi, Nurpur, Kangra, and other schools. In the Pahari section, the bright glowing colours and staring eye of the Basohli Gita Govinda stand in striking contrast to the soft, mellow, rhythmic and lyrical paintings of the Guler Gita Govinda. Also on view are a number of Kangra drawings of epics like the Ramayana and other subjects in black ink on off-white paper. The collection includes rare paintings from Malwa and Bundelkhand (Orccha and Datia). Some unique court paintings of Orccha and Datia rulers are displayed here for the first time.

The table showcases have miscellaneous material which includes folios of Jaina manuscripts, painted Pothis, painted book covers, Farmans and manuscripts of Qurans in beautiful Persian calligraphy. The collection includes over 1200 paintings. Of these between 250 - 300 are on display at any given time due to constraints of space, and for the safe keeping of the paintings.

Objective

Among other popular themes of Indian miniature paintings are the love poems of the Gita Govinda by poet Jayadeva, the Rasikapriya of Keshavadas, the Satsai of Biharilal, the Barahamasa depictions of seasons and the Ragamala musical modes in colours. Paintings based on epics like Bhagavata Purana and Ramayana are also represented in this gallery. The early Gita Govinda, c.1525 A.D. comprises of 159 paintings and is acknowledged a landmark of transition from Western Indian or Jaina style to early Rajasthani Painting perhaps experimented in Gujarat. It is a living document of the shared culture and tradition of Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Mission & Vision

Paintings in the Gallery have been arranged according to the evolution of schools, styles and periods. In the beginning we see early examples of miniature paintings of the Jaina and Sultanate Schools. The folios of the Jaina Kalpasutra and Balagopala Stuti represent painting in Gujarat during the 15th and 16th centuries. The Sultanate style is exhibited through the folios of the Sikander Namah.

Our Team

One of the most popular collections of the N.C. Mehta Gallery are the Chaurapanchashika series, i.e. the fifty love lyrics of a thief, composed by the Kashmiri poet Bilhana in the 11th century. The story goes that Bilhana, the poet, falls in love with Champavati. The fact comes to the knowledge of Champavati's father, the king, who orders the poet to be sent to the gallows. On the last day, in order to fulfill his final wish, the king allows Bilhana to recite his fifty verses. So pleased was the king with the poetic compositions that he gave his daughter in marriage to Bilhana.

Facility

The first floor gallery now houses a large collection of Pahari paintings. These include some of the masterpieces of Basohli, Guler, Kulu-Mandi, Nurpur, Kangra, and other schools. In the Pahari section, the bright glowing colours and staring eye of the Basohli Gita Govinda stand in striking contrast to the soft, mellow, rhythmic and lyrical paintings of the Guler Gita Govinda. Also on view are a number of Kangra drawings of epics like the Ramayana and other subjects in black ink on off-white paper. The collection includes rare paintings from Malwa and Bundelkhand (Orccha and Datia). Some unique court paintings of Orccha and Datia rulers are displayed for the first time on this floor.