The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute  

The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute

812, Shivajinagar, Chiplunkar Road, (ILS Law College Road,) Pune 411004, India.
Centenary Year 2016-2017
Plunging into new depths of research,
Soaring to new heights of glory...
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     The Manuscript Department
(The Government Manuscript Library and The Manuscript Resource and Conservation Centre)
The 'one of its kind' Manuscript Collection at the BORI is the perfect testimony to the literary heritage living in the Manuscripts. The largest part of the collection ( 17,877 Manuscripts ) is known by the name 'The Government Manuscript Library'. There are some more Collections
( 11,633 Manuscripts ) too. The total no. of Manuscripts amounts to 29510 and still counting..
Brief History

The History of the Collection is an interesting study. The Government of Bombay, in 1866, started a pan Indian Manuscript Collection project. Eminent scholars like Prof. George Bühler, Prof. F. Kielhorn, Prof. Peter Peterson, Prof. R. G. Bhandarkar, Prof. S. R. Bhandarkar, Prof. Kathavate, Prof. Ghate collected more than 17,000 important Manuscripts under this project. This collection was first deposited at Elphinston College, Bombay. Then it was transferred to Decccan College, Pune for better preservative conditions. After the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute was founded in 1917, the BORI founders proposed to offer even better preservation and Research. Hence Lord Willingdon, the then Governor of the Bombay Presidency, transferred the valuable Government Collection of Manuscripts to the BORI in 1918 for the benefit of scholars. Under the able leadership of P. K. Gode (the first Curator), BORI not only maintained but also added to this valuable collection. Till date, the Institute has added above 11,000 Manuscripts to the previous collection.

Special Features
  1. The collection contains around 350 Palm Leaf and around 150 Birch Bark Manuscripts.
  2. More than 1500 Manuscripts contain miniature paintings in different styles.
  3. Languages: Sanskrit, Marathi, Arabic, Persian, Urdu.
  4. Scripts: Devanagari, Sharada, Grantha, Nast-aliq, Naskh, Oriya, Bengali, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil.
  5. Subjects: Vedic Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Upanisads, Grammar, Vedangas, Sutra literature, Dharmashastra, Vedanta, Alamkara, Samgia, Natya, Kavya, Nataka, Vaidyaka, Tantra, Jaina Literature and Philosophy, Nyaya-Vaisheshika, Mimamsa, Purana, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Sankhya, Yoga, Shilpa, Kosha.
  6. Oldest Dated Manuscripts in the BORI Collection
    Paper Manuscript : Chikitsasarasangraha
    Accession No. : 352/1879-80
    Date of writing : Sam. 1376; A. D. 1320
    Palmleaf Manuscript : Upamitibhavaprapañcakatha
    Accession No. : 7a and b/1880-81
    Date of writing : Sam. 962; A. D. 906
Important Collections
  1. Kashmir Manuscripts : This collection ( 1875 - 76 ) comprises Birch Bark Manuscripts written in Sharada script, Manuscripts related with Kashmir Shaivism, Jainism and the history of Kashmir.
  2. Vishrambaghwada Collection of Manuscripts : Believed to have belonged to the Peshwas and the Poona Sanskrit College , Vishrambaghwada ( estd. 1821 )
  3. Persian Manuscripts : Many illustrated and illuminated Manuscripts.
  4. Jaina Manuscripts : A few thousand Manuscripts related with Jaina literature and philosophy.
  5. The Collection of Rgveda Manuscripts : Recognized as a vital part of the Memory of the World Heritage Collection by the UNESCO.
Important Manuscripts
  1. Rgvedasamhita
    Accession No. : 5/1875-76
    Material : Birch Bark
    Uniqueness / Pecularity : The manuscript was used by Prof. F. Max Müller for the edition of the Rgveda with Sayana's commentary. The manuscript is a beautiful specimen of the old style Manuscript of Kashmir.
  2. Bhagavata Purana
    Accession No. : 61/1907-1915
    No. of Illustrations : 128
    Uniqueness / Pecularity : It is one of the most precious mss. of the Institute's collection. It contains 128 beautiful paintings in colour.

The collection is methodically documented in various catalogues viz; Card Index, One-Line-Catalogues and Descriptive Catalogues. Microfilms of more than 13,000 Manuscripts are available. Digital images of selected Manuscripts are also made. The details of digitization are as follows:

Descriptive Catalogues : Published 13 Volumes, 35 parts, 13000 Manuscripts 1 - Veda, 2 - Grammar, 3 - Jyotisha, 4 - Vedanga, 7 - Dharmashastra, 9 - Vedanta, 12 - Alankara, 13 - Kavya, 14 - Natya, 16- Vaidyaka, 17-19- Jaina
Microfilmed Manuscripts : 13000 Manuscripts ( - ves at BORI, + ves at IGNCA )

A complete digitization of data, documentation and images of Manuscripts is planned for the immediate future.

Manuscript Studies and Research

Researchers from all over the world benefit from the Manuscripts. Prominent projects involving Manuscripts from BORI:

•  The Critical Edition of the Mahabharata
•  The Critical Edition of the Rgveda
•  The Critical Edition of Vyakarana Mahabhashya
•  The Critical Edition of Kashika - Vritti
•  The Studies in Indian Cultural History etc.
A number of scholars have completed their Doctoral and Post-Doctoral minor or major projects and theses by studying various Manuscripts the BORI collection from various perspectives.
The National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM)

The National Mission for Manuscripts ( a nationwide project of the Cultural Ministry of India ) has recognized the service of BORI by declaring BORI a Manuscript Resource Centre ( MRC ) and the sole Manuscript Conservation Centre ( MCC ) in Maharashtra .


•  Activities

  1. Survey of Manuscripts present in different institutes and private collections.
  2. Collection of Vital Data of Manuscripts.
  3. Digitization of the above data.

•  Allotted area of work

  1. The Following Districts of the State of Maharashtra
    Raigad, Pune, Solapur, Ousmanabad, Latur, Beed, Nandurbar, Dhule, Nashik, Jalgaon, Mumbai.
  2. The complete State of Goa.

•  Work completed till date

  1. Digitization of vital data of above 45,000 Manuscripts for inclusion in the National Online Catalogue of Manuscripts.
  2. Manual Data - collection of above 55,000 Manuscripts from the allotted Area.
  3. Prominent Collections documented till date
    Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune
    Vaidika Sanshodhana Mandal, Pune
    Deccan College, Pune
    Vedashastrottejaka Sabha, Pune
    Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth, Pune
    Fergusson College, Pune
    Anandashrama Sanstha, Pune
    Bharata Itihas Sanshodhak Mandal, Pune
    Forbes Gujarati Sabha, Mumbai
    Sarvajanik Vachanalaya, Nashik
    Takale Collection, Nashik
    Yadavshastri Takle Collection, Nashik
    Ayurved Seva Sangh, Nashik
    Dr. Deshpande Collection, Nashik
    H. P. T. College, Nashik
    Tatyashastri Garge Collection, Nashik
    V. R. Borkhedkar Collection, Nashik
    V. S. Shukla Collection, Nashik
    Deepak Shitaram Rudra Collection, Dhule
    Samrtha Vagdevata Mandir, Dhule
    Sangli Nagar Vachanalya, Sangli
    And Other Personal Collections in Nashik
  4. Survey and Awareness Campaigns: Cities
    Pune, Mahad, Mumbai, Ahmednagar, Junnar, Parbhani
    Nashik, Tryambakeshwar, Raver, Baramati etc.
    Collections: University of Mumbai, Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji ( Prince of Wales ), Mumbai
    Central Library, Mumbai
    K. R. Kama Oriental Institute, Mumbai
    Asiatic Society, Mumbai
    J. J. School of Fine and Applied Arts
    Mumbai Maharashtra Archives, Mumbai
    Mumbai Marathi Grantha Samgrahalaya, Mumbai
    Kshirsagar Maharaj Mutt, Ahmednagar
    Dixit Collection, Tryambakeshwar Shikhare Collection, Tryambakeshwar
    Gaidhani Collection, Nashik
    Garge Collection, Nashik etc. all


•  Activities

  1. Preventive conservation of various manuscript collections.
  2. Curative conservation of Manuscripts.
  3. Training in preventive conservation for the responsible personnel in different Institutions.
  4. Provide expert advice to institutes and private collectors regarding preventive conservation of Manuscripts.
 •  Allotted area of work
The Complete States of Maharashtra and Goa

•  Work completed till date ( Preventive Conservation )
Names of Institutions / private collections visited
  1. Anandashram Sanstha, Pune
  2. Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune
  3. Bharat Itihas Samshodhan Mandal, Pune
  4. Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute, Pune
  5. Forbes Gujarathi Sabha, Mumbai
  6. Girish Takle's Personal Collection, Nashik
  7. H. P. T. College, Nashik
  8. Rajwade Sanshodhan Mandal, Dhule
  9. Samartha Vagdevata Mandir, Dhule
  10. Sarvajanik Vachanayalaya, Nashik
  11. Shankar Lakshman Gargeshastri's Collection, Nashik
  12. Siddheshwarshastri Khedkar Personal Collection, Nashik
  13. Vaidika Samshodhana Mandala, Pune
  14. Vedashastrottejak Sabha, Pune
  15. Fergusson College, Pune
  16. Nagpur University, Nagpur
  17. Kavikulguru Kalidas Sanskrit Univ., Ramtek, Nagpur
  18. Bhonsala Vedashastra Mahavidyalaya, Nagpur
  19. Sunder Sanskar & Swadhyay Mandal, Nashik
  20. Mehta Personal Collection, Nashik
  21. Gaydhani Personal Collection, Nashik
  22. Indian Institute for Research in Numismatic Studies, Anjaneri, Nashik
  23. Alandi Devasthan Trust, Alandi, Pune
  24. Following private collections of Solapur and Pandharpur
  25. Shri. Dvaipayan Varkhedkar, Shri. Balachandra Deodhar, Shri. Prakash D. Kulkarni, Shri. Anil Shankar Badve, Shri. Vasantrao Borkkhedkar, Shri. Bhanudasmaharaj Deglurkar, Shri. V. N. Utpat, Shri. Bhimacharya Varkhedkar, Shri. Madwanna, Mrs. Aklujkar, Shri. Anant Date, Shri. Bajirao Joshi, Shri. Arun Moholkar.
  26. Ayurved College, Nashik.
  27. Late Shri. Deenanath Maharaj Collection, Raver, Dt. Jalgaon.
  28. Shivaji University, Kolhapur and six personal collections in Kolhapur.

•  Work of Preventive Conservation being carried out at

  1. Anandashram Sanstha, Pune
  2. Bharat Itihas Sanshodhan Mandal, Pune
  3. Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune
  4. Sarvajanik Vachanalaya, Nashik
  5. Rajwade Samshodhan Mandal, Dhule
  6. Samartha Vagdevata Mandal, Dhule
  7. Fergusson College, Pune
•  Work completed till date ( Curative Conservation )
(a) Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune
  1. The Persian manuscripts in the collection of the BORI ( more than 10000 folios ), are being subjected to curative treatment.
  2. Manuscript Collection donated to the institute by Dr. Mundi is being subjected to Preventive Conservation and rearrangement in storage and upkeep.
  3. Curative Conservation of a painted copperplate.
(b) Bharat Itihas Sanshodhaka Mandal, Pune

10 selected MSS in the collection of the institute are being subjected to curative methods of conservation and the treatment is been carried out successfully.

(c) Anandashram Sanstha, Pune

8 selected Mss in the collection of the Institute are being subjected to curative methods of conservation the treatment is been carried out successfully.

(d) A unique written ( not engraved ) Copper Plate at the custody of Shri. S. K. Gurjar ( Padhye ) from Rajapur is treated successfully to remove various layers of Patina. The Copper Plate is an Important Historical find.