Srinagar, January 10: The dream project of Kashmiri doctor couple Khurshid Ahmad Gul and Lubna Guru to establish a Kashmir museum abroad, scheduled for 2020, has finally become a reality.
With the picturesque Niagara Falls as a backdrop, the couple have founded the world’s first overseas museum of Kashmiri culture and art.
Khurshid Guru told reporters that more than 12 million people visit Niagara Falls each year, and even if only a fraction of them visit the museum, his dream will come true.
In order to claim its origins, Khurshid named the museum “Heart of Kashmir”. It contains many Kashmiri artefacts depicting the culture, history and art of the region.
The Kashmiri doctor’s passion stems from the brutal assassination of his father, a renowned cardiologist, who was murdered in Srinagar on April 1, 1993.
Khurshid is a Senior Robotic Oncology Surgeon and Head of Urology at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, USA. He has worked in Buffalo for the past 17 years with his wife, Lubna, a pediatrician.
The couple have amassed 1,500 priceless books about Kashmir, in addition to handicrafts. This is said to be the largest collection in Kashmir outside the valley.
In 2020, the Center purchased the former First Church of Christ Scientist in Park Place. It has its own history. The church was built in Gothic Revival style in 1917 by the First Society of Christian Scientists of Niagara Falls, which has existed since July 26, 1903.
After the purchase, interior renovation started. The false ceiling was removed, the roof was refurbished, the windows were resealed, and an elevator was installed. They also plan to purchase two additional homes to provide living space for visiting Kashmiri artists, scholars and contributors.
The museum is now ready to open. Items on display include paintings, out-of-print books, shawls, rugs, wood carvings, papier-mâché and other Kashmiri handicrafts.
As costs skyrocketed in the wake of COVID-19, the couple decided to move away from patrons of Kashmir’s culture and arts and from a variety of far-flung but deeply interconnected cultures of different races and regions. We raise funds from people interested in the integration of global cultures.
The Center acquired the property for $200,000 from its owner, Michael Sazek. On construction and renovation he spent $1.25 million, on furniture and equipment another $250,000, and on other expenses he spent $300,000.
Posting a pandemic increased costs. This was despite the fact that New York authorities approved tax breaks for the 9,400-square-foot building in September 2021. The Center is a public charity that aims to serve as a global focal point for Himalayan art, culture and history in South Asia. region. Preserving, protecting and promoting the ‘Kashmiri way of life’ is central to its existence.
The center hopes to be able to operate on its own as a business operation, with ticket sales and annual membership fees covering its operating costs.
https://weeklyvoice.com/worlds-first-overseas-kashmiri-museum-set-up-in-niagara-falls/ The world’s first overseas Kashmir museum installed in Niagara Falls