Srinagar, January 10: The dream project of a Kashmiri doctor couple, Khurshid Ahmad Guru and Lubna Guru, to set up a museum of Kashmiri history outside the country that was envisioned by 2020 has come to fruition.
Behind the beautiful but still roaring Niagara Falls, the world’s first overseas museum of Kashmiri culture and art has been established by this couple.
Khurshid Guru told reporters that more than 12 million people visit Niagara Falls every year and although only a fraction of them visit the museum, his dream will bear fruit.
To confirm its origin, Khurshid named the museum as ‘Kashmir Centre’. It includes many Kashmiri paintings depicting the culture, history and art of the region.
The Kashmiri doctor’s passion stems from the brutal murder of his father, renowned cardiologist Abdul Ahad Guru, who was killed on April 1, 1993 in Srinagar.
Khurshid is a senior oncologic surgeon and head of the urology department at the Roswell Park Cancer Center in Buffalo, USA. He has been working in Buffalo with his pediatrician wife, Lubna, for the past 17 years.
The couple has collected 1,500 rare books in Kashmir apart from handicrafts, said to be the largest collection in Kashmir outside the Valley.
In 2020, the foundation purchased the First Baptist Church of Christ in the Park area. It has its own history. The church was built in 1917 in the Gothic Revival style by the First Christian Scientists of Niagara Falls which has been in existence since July 26, 1903.
After the purchase, interior renovations began. The false ceilings were taken down, the roof was renovated, the windows were resealed, and an elevator was installed. They are planning to buy two more houses to provide accommodation to visiting Kashmiri scholars, scholars and donors.
The museum is ready to open. Items slated for display include paintings, prints, and Kashmiri handicrafts, including shawls, carpets, wood carvings, papier mache and other items.
With costs now high in the wake of Covid-19, the couple is raising funds from buyers of Kashmiri culture and art and those interested in blending global culture with far-flung cultures. but highly interconnected of different races and regions.
The agency acquired the property for $200,000 from its owner, Michael Suszek; spent $1.25 million on construction and renovations, another $250,000 on furniture and fixtures, and $300,000 on other expenses.
After the epidemic, the costs increased. This happened despite New York authorities receiving tax approval for the 9,400 sq ft building in September 2021. The center is a public charity that aims to serve as a global center for the art, culture and history of the Himalayas. South Asia. space. Preserving, protecting and promoting the ‘Kashmiri way of life’ is essential to its existence.
The center hopes to become self-sustaining as a commercial operation, with ticket sales and annual memberships covering operating costs.