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UK museum granted nearly 200,000 pounds to commemorate legacy of last Sikh empire ruler

A museum in the UK has been awarded nearly 200,000 pounds in grant by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to mark the legacy of Maharajah Duleep Singh, the last ruler of the Sikh empire.

UK museum granted nearly 200,000 pounds to commemorate legacy of last Sikh empire ruler snt
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First Published Jan 28, 2024, 3:04 PM IST

The Ancient House Museum, nestled in the heart of Norfolk's Thetford, is set to embark on a transformative journey to commemorate the remarkable legacy of Maharajah Duleep Singh, the last sovereign of the Sikh empire. This endeavor comes as the museum celebrates its centenary, marking a century of preserving history and heritage for generations to come.

Established in 1924 by Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, the son of Maharajah Duleep Singh, the museum stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of the Duleep Singh family. Now, on its 100th anniversary, the museum has been awarded a prestigious grant of £198,059 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, igniting a beacon of opportunity to unveil the captivating saga of the Duleep Singh dynasty.

Maharajah Duleep Singh's narrative is one of resilience and transformation. As the youngest scion of Maharajah Ranjit Singh, the visionary founder of the Sikh empire, Duleep Singh ascended to the throne of Punjab at the tender age of five. However, the winds of change swept across the Punjab as Britain annexed the region in 1849, altering the course of history for the young ruler.

At the age of 15, Duleep Singh embarked on a new chapter of his life, crossing oceans to find refuge in England. It was here, amidst the verdant landscapes of Elveden Hall in Suffolk, that he forged his legacy, anchoring his family's roots in the annals of British history for generations to come.

Prince Frederick, imbued with a deep sense of heritage and philanthropy, bequeathed the Ancient House Museum to the people of Thetford, a timeless gift that continues to resonate with the community a century later. His dedication to preserving the rich tapestry of the Duleep Singh family's history underscores the museum's enduring significance as a custodian of cultural heritage.

The grant bestowed upon the museum by the National Lottery Heritage Fund heralds a new era of exploration and discovery. Over the next two years, the museum will embark on a captivating journey to unravel the intricacies of the Duleep Singh family's saga, illuminating the corridors of history with vibrant displays and immersive experiences.

Visitors to the museum can expect to be transported back in time as they explore a sumptuous treasury of Anglo-Punjab history, marvel at a meticulously crafted model of Elveden Hall, and behold a captivating portrait of Duleep Singh himself. The exhibits will pay homage to the family's enduring contributions and activism, including their pivotal role in advocating for universal suffrage.

Among the prized possessions on display will be Duleep Singh's cherished walking stick, a poignant symbol of his enduring connection to royalty and heritage. Gifted to him by King Edward VII during his tenure as Prince of Wales, the walking stick serves as a tangible link to a bygone era of opulence and grandeur.

As the Ancient House Museum embarks on this transformative journey, it stands as a beacon of cultural preservation and celebration, honoring the indelible imprint of the Duleep Singh family on the fabric of British history. Through the generosity of visionaries like Prince Frederick Duleep Singh and the unwavering support of the community, the museum remains steadfast in its commitment to safeguarding heritage for generations to come.

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