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, Brāhmanas, Aranyakas, Upanisads, Grammar, Vedangas, Sutra
    literature, Dharmashastra, Vedanta, Alamkāra, 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 : ChikitsāsārasangrahaAccession No. : 352/1879-80

    Date of writing :
    Sam. 1376; A. D. 1320

    Palmleaf Manuscript :

    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
  2. Uniqueness / Peculiarity : Included in the UNESCO’s Memory of the World Heritage Register at number 159.
    Bhagavata Purana
    Accession No. : 61/1907-1915
    No. of Illustrations : 128
    Uniqueness / Peculiarity : 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.



  1. Survey of Manuscripts present in different institutes and private collections.
    Collection of Vital Data of Manuscripts.
  2. 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 46,000 Manuscripts for inclusion in the National Online Catalogue of Manuscripts.
  2. Manual Data-collection of above 50,000 Manuscripts from the allotted Area.
    Prominent Collections documented till date:
    Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune
  3. Vaidika Samshodhana Mandala, Pune
    Deccan College, Pune
    Vedashastrottejaka Sabha, Pune
    Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth, Pune
    Fergusson College, Pune
    Anandashrama Samsthaa, Pune
    Bharata Itihasa Samshodhak Mandal, Pune
    Forbes Gujarati Sabha, Mumbai
    Sarvajanik Vachnalaya, Nashik
    Takale Collection, Nashik
    Yadavshastri Takle Collection, Nashik
    Ayurved Seva Sangh, Nashik
    Dr. Deshpande Collection, Nashik,
    H. P. T. College, Nashik
    Tatyashastr Garge Collection, Nashik
    V. R. Borkhedkar Collection, Nashik
    V. S. Shukla Collection, Nashik
  4. Deepak Shitaram Rudra Collection, Dhule
    Samrtha Vagdevata Mandir, Dhule
    Sangli Nagar Vachanalya, Sangli And Other Personal Collections in Nashik

    Survey and Awareness Campaigns:
    Cities: Pune, Mahad, Mumbai, Ahmednagar, Junnar, Parbhani, Nashik, Tryambakeshwar, Raver, Baramati, etc.



  1. Preventive conservation of various manuscript collections.
    Curative conservation of Manuscripts.
  2. Training in preventive conservation for the responsible personnel in different Institutions.
    Provide expert advice to institutes and private collectors regarding preventive conservation of

Allotted area of work:

  1. The Complete States of Maharashtra and Goa

Work completed till date(Preventive Conservation):

  1. Carried out the work of conservation at 20 collections of manuscripts of over 50 collections visited so far