Oriental Research Institute & Manuscripts Library
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The Oriental Research Institute & Manuscripts Library (ORI & MSS), in the University of Kerala, is one of the leading centres of Indological Studies in India. This world recognised institute, situated in Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), does research in fields connected with manuscripts. The department is microfilming the manuscripts of certain technical subjects.
The genesis of this library is to be traced to the orders of Ayilyam Thirunal, Maharaja of Travancore to collect all manuscripts in the state so as to be kept in the safe custody of the Palace Library. Considering the overwhelming enthusiasm from the Orientalists all over the world, during early nineteen hundred Swathi Thirunal Maharaja (the then King of Travancore) published many of the manuscripts in the Palace Library and the manuscripts collection of ancient families.
ORI & MSS is a treasure trove of Indian culture. The library has over 70,000 works in 30,000 copies mainly of palm leaf manuscripts. In addition, some paper manuscripts, a few copper plates, writings on Bhurjapatra (birch bark), Agarutvak (the bark of Aquilaria malaccensis) and textiles are also found in the collection. The manuscript collection also includes those belonging to other different Indian states and nations such as Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal etc. Another interesting fact is that about eighty per cent of the collections are in Sanskrit. The manuscript collection of this department is an invaluable source for the study of ancient scripts as Grantha, Vattezhuttu, Sarada, Nandinagari, Grantha Tamil etc. The initial moulds of scripts of modern Indian languages like Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, Telugu, Oriya, Assamese and Burmese are also found.
Curators of the library
- The contribution of Kerala to Sanskrit Literature; K.Kunjunni Raja; University of Madras 1980; page 257, 272
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