Gangasagar Mela Museum
Mallinson Architects are working with Italian Engineering Company HYDEA to produce a museum and exhibition on the Gangasagar Mela festival in West Bengal. This is conducted in partnership with Ghosh, Bose & Associates and STUP Consultants in Kolkata, for the World Bank’s Integrated Coastal Zone Development Project and the West Bengal Government’s Sundarban Development Project. The project is located on Sagar Island in the River Ganges, where it meets the Bay of Bengal. The annual festival attracts 500,000 people to one of the most ancient pilgrimage sites in India, for bathing in the sacred river and visiting the temple of Kapila Muni, the founder of the Indian Samkya Philosophy. The project’s major focus is to encourage year round eco-tourism to help support the local economy, and to provide education and entertainment for the multitude of pilgrims and visitors who come from all over India and around the globe to experience the site and its festivals.
The new museum will help document the history and importance of local narratives about the myth of the creation of the Ganges, as well as celebrate the local culture, traditions and life of the island. The museum’s exhibition is being developed with the assistance of the Indian Museum, the West Bengal Archaeological Museum, the West Bengal Nature Society, and the British Council's museum training initiative. The project also addresses the site’s regular destruction by monsoons and the islanders’ required protection from cyclones.