Mumbai, June :Gujarat, the state famous for its rich heritage and culture, art and craft, fairs and festivals, warmth of its people and mouthwatering cuisine, teaches us the spirit of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’. From boasting India’s only Heritage City in the form of Ahmedabad to being a home for the desert festival at Kutch, Gujarat’s cultural extravaganza in addition to its serene and blissful pilgrimage destinations in the form of Shakti Peeth at Ambaji, Pavagadh etc have attracted one and all from within and beyond the borders. It is one of the finest examples of how finely does the ancient and modern blend into each other. Not only that, it has been home to leaders that have been stalwarts in the pre-Independence and post-Independence era.
Gujarat’s new Dinosaur Informatics Centre and Museum tells the hidden story of the state’s fossilized past
Despite being on the global map for more than two decades, what people know about this state is still less. The state has always carried an element of surprise within itself that has caught the eyes of one and many across the globe. And yet again, it is on a mission to realise the same.
How would you react when you learn that Gujarat has been a home to dinosaurs in the pre-historic times? Made you tilt from the chair right? It is one of the very few states in the country that has a rich treasure of fossilised remains of dinosaurs. The Indroda Dinosaur and Fossil Park in the capital city is the second largest hatchery of dinosaur eggs in the world. The Forest Department of the State started its plantation and renovation work in the 1970.Also known as India’s Jurassic Park, it is spread in an area of 428 hectares and contains a number of sections like the Dinosaur section, fossil section etc. From life sized dinosaur status to fossilised eggs that range from the size of duck eggs to canon balls, palaeontologists suggest that the eggs are more than 65 million years old. It is believed that the area in and around park could have been the dwelling place of these gigantic creatures.
Approximately 100 km away from Gandhinagar, we find a place the displays a rustic charm in its air and culture. Situated in Mahisagar district is Balasinor, a former princely state of the Yusufzai dynasty, that was created on 28thSeptember, 1758. While a majority of cities today boast about the ultra modern infrastructure and state of the art facilities , Balasinor boasts its old world charm. Being a home to a number of Hindu temples, monuments etc, the festivals are celebrated in the most traditional manner that brings us closer to our roots.
In addition to the magic of culture and traditions, the village of Rayoli in Balasinor could have been one of the shooting destinations for Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. Paleontologists
accidentally came across the fossil remains of bones and eggs in 1980s. Since then, the place has been flooded with researchers and a number of excavations have taken place in the area the findings of which revealed the fact that there were more than 13 species of dinosaurs that thrived around 65 million years ago. The fossil park here contains life sized statues of those giant creatures and further excavations have found that a squat, thick-legged, heavy-bodied carnivorous dinosaur with a crested horn, Rajasaurus Narmandensis, King of Narmada, (the first half of the name comes from Raja or King due to the crested horn and the second half of the name originates due to its geographical location which was near the river Narmada). This creature belonged to the carnivore family of Tyrannosaurus Rex. Another interesting display is that of the fossilised snake that fed on dinosaur eggs. A skeleton of a 3.5 m fossilised snake is believed to have fed on the eggs of Sauropods. It is probably the first evidences of feeding behaviour in a fossilised primitive snake.
A visit to the fossil park will surely make you dig deep into the history of dinosaurs in Gujarat. And in order to quench your thirst for the same, Gujarat Tourismhas come up with an Informatics Centre at Balasinor which is equipped with a Time Machine, 5-D theatre, 3-D film, a vivid display of mesozoic times, souvenir shop etc.
Thenew Informatics Centre and Museum was inaugurated by H’ble Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Vijay Rupani todayin Balasinor.
A giant sculpture of the Rajasaurus Narmandensis will be on display in addition to a display depicting the evolution of Earth. The museum will depict as many as 40 sculptures that will throw on a light on their size, shape, habits and habitat, etc. These patterns have been prepared after careful study done by paleontologists over the years.A Fossil Park Development Society has been established in order to maintain this ultra modern museum.
The museum is spread in an area of over 25,000 sq. feet with 10 galleries spread in the basement and the ground floor depicting various forms of displays (films and exhibitions). An exclusive 3-D film is prepared on Rajasaurus Narmadensis. Other galleries display details on Dinosaurs of India and Gujarat, Fossil Exhibits and many other features that will bring out the child in you. One can relish this museum through digital, print and static form. The state government has not only catered to those seeking information on dinosaurs and their fossils , but also to kids by creating a Dino Fun for Kids area which will be interactive and amusing. The atrium features an exact replica of the habitat of these creatures. A step in the atrium will transport you 65 million years back. Fascinating enough for a visit?
Be ready to witness a rare feather in Gujarat’s cap of achievements.