In the Thar region of Rajasthan, this library in the village of Bhadariya in Pokaran tehsil is 16 feet underground and holds 900,000 volumes. Mirrors at the end of each corridor double the sense of space.

It was built by Harbansh Singh Nirmal, also known as Bhadariya Maharaj. There is a temple and a very large cattle shelter next to the library complex. The project began in 1998 but is not yet open for public use. One wonders if it ever will be.

The collection is somewhat bizarre. A very large section is dedicated to law, but almost all of it is outdated—useful for archival or historical research, but of little utility otherwise. The contemporary fiction section does not exist (except for Danielle Steele and Jeffrey Archer). But tucked away in here there are undoubtedly some valuable works—Vedic texts, translations, a Pali/Magadhi–Sanskrit dictionary, and many original manuscripts yet to be indexed and catalogued. We were told that an online catalogue is being developed and, in time, thorough digitization.


C O M M E N T S

  • Uma L

    on January 9, 2022

    Amazing

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