Oriental Research Institute and Manuscripts Library, Kerala University

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ORI & MSS – Oriental Research Institute and Manuscripts Library is an academic department of the University of Kerala. The century old library do substantial work in the field of Indological studies. Situated at the beautiful scenario of Kariavattom Campus, Thiruvananthapuram, the Department is one of the leading centres of Indological Studies in India and do research in the fields connected with Manuscriptology. The department is microfilming the manuscripts of certain technical subjects.

The library was started by 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 1900 Swathi Thirunal Maharaja , the then King of Travancore, published many of the manuscripts in the Palace Library and the manuscripts collection of ancient families.

The library has over 65,000 works in 30,000 copies mainly of palm leaf manuscripts. In addition, some paper manuscripts, a few copper plates, writings on Bhurjapatra, Agarutvak  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 80 % 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, Nandinagari etc..  The initial moulds of scripts of modern Indian languages like Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, Telugu, Oriya, Assamese and Burmese are also found.

The functions of this library are collection and preservation of manuscripts and publication of manuscripts. It has published till now 200 works in the Trivandrum Malayalam Series.

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