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  • Asiatic Society
  • Asiatic Society
  • Asiatic Society

Asiatic Society

Records Available In: English, Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Sino-Tibetan and other Indian languages


The Asiatic Society is the oldest centre of learning and research in the whole continent of Asia which was established in 1784 at the initiative of its Founder President Sir William Jones. The name of the society underwent several changes during the last two centuries such as the Asiatick Society of Bengal (1832-1935), the Royal Asiatick Society of Bengal (1936-1951) and in July 1952 it came to be known as the Asiatic Society. Since 1984 the Asiatic Society has been declared as an Institution of National Importance by an Act of Parliament of India. The library of the Asiatic Society is its most important asset and its importance lies not only in the numerical strength of its holdings but also in its rich and unique contents. The collection has been built up mainly with gifts received from its members. The society moved into its own building in the early part of 1808 and the library was thrown open to the members and the public in the same year. The collection contains many old and rare works. Special mention may be made of the manuscript ‘Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita’ in Newari script, an illuminated manuscript of the Quran, an old text of Gulistan and the manuscript of ‘Padshanamah’ bearing an autograph of Emperor Shahjahan. On the abolition of the college of Fort William, the whole of its Sanskrit, Arabian, Persian and Urdu works, mostly in manuscripts, collected at great expense and trouble under the superintendence of Gladwin, Carey and other distinguished oriental scholars were placed under the custody of the society. In addition to this, the Society possesses a rare collection of Tibetan xylographs. The museum of the Asiatic Society is also part of the library. As early as 1796, the society announced its intention of establishing a museum and it was actually set up at the beginning of 1814 under the superintendence of Dr. N. Wallich. The society proposed to the Government in 1839 for the establishment of a public museum at Calcutta and the Indian Museum of Calcutta was established in 1866. The society made over its valuable collections to the Indian Museum. The society, however, still maintains a museum of its own which houses an Asokan Rock Edict (250 B.C.) and has a large collection of paintings, manuscripts, sculptures, bronzes, coins and inscriptions.


Address: 1, Park Street, Kolkata - 700016
Established: 1784
Institution Head: Dr. S.B. Chakrabarti, General Secretary
Hours: Mon to Fri: 9:45 am to 7:00 pm/ Sat: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (only Reading Room service)
Phone: 033-2229-0779, 033-2229-7251, 033-2249-7250