Museums in India

Famous museums in India

Immersed in culture and traditions the best way to understand the rich heritage of India is through the various Museums here. Ranging from the relics in Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad to the Museum of Modern Art in Mumbai, these places of art and culture reflect the journey of India through history. Each city or town in India has at least one building where the artifacts and memorabilia from that region are house for travellers to pursue. In this article you will get to know the 10 must visit museums in this country where you can witness the stunning heritage of this ancient land.

Being one of the largest and the oldest countries in Southeast Asia, India has a lot to offer to all those who come to explore these lands. Due to its expanse, India has innumerable landscapes from the snow-capped Himalayas in the north to the tranquil backwaters all the way down south. Central India is home to some of the richest hoards of wildlife and forests found on the planet. From vast green expanses of forest reserves to modern cities made of glass and steel buildings, there is a lot to be explored in this wonderland.

Top 10 must visit museums in India

1. Hall of Fame Museum, Leh

Hall of Fame Museum, Leh

Located at in the lower Himalayas, The Hall of Fame is a museum created and managed by the Indian Army, as a tribute to the Indian Soldiers who laid down their lives to defend the country during the Indo-Pak wars. The two storied museums are divided into different sections, each containing pictures depicting the lives of the soldiers high up in the mountains. One can also find pictures of the Kargil War along with the Lest We Forget wall where the photographs of all the martyred soldiers are hung. You can also view a short documentary film ‘Operation Vijay’ in the projection room. One particular moving sight on this floor meets you in the form of a frame on a wall named “The Last Post”. This was the letter written by Captain Vijayant Thapar to his parents some days before he attained martyrdom. There is a souvenirs shop on the ground level where you can buy t-shirts, caps, coffee mugs and pashmina shawls. There is also a small cafe next to the museum where you can enjoy a light snack and some amazing hot chocolate post your tour.

2. National Museum, New Delhi

National Museum, New Delhi

Better known as the National Museum of India, it plays host to about 20,000 artifacts of diverse nature. The three storied building of the National Museum houses a total of 12 collections like Archaeology, Anthropology, Arms and Armour, Jewellery, Prehistoric era etc. The most amazing feature about the museum is the Anubhav Tactile Gallery which is designed to include visitors with visual disabilities. This gallery has on display 22 tactile replicas chosen from the vast collection of the museum, which the visitors can touch and feel. The objects on display in this gallery range from archaeological finds, sculptures, tactile impressions of paintings, utilitarian objects, ethnographic objects and decorative arts. With entertaining story telling sessions for children and audio tours for visually disabled patrons, tourists can also buy t-shirts, jewellery, and bags from the gift shop at the Museum. The National Museum is also an Exhibition center, where travelling pieces of art can be seen.

3. National Rail Museum, New Delhi

national rail  museum new delhi

The 163 glorious years of the India Railway all culminate at this beautiful open-air museum where you can spend an exciting day among rare steam, diesel and electric locos, royal saloon cars and many artifacts that represent the amazing journey of Indian Railways. The oldest working steam locomotive “ Fairy Queen” is one of the exhibits in this museum and figures in Guinness Book of world record. Other than just the engines and their amazing engineering, the museum also houses saloon cars where the visitors can understand how to royalty traveled in the olden days. With interactive and fun session for kids and different exhibitions and events for the adults, this museum is a pleasant journey into the past in a train! There is also a museum shop on site where you can buy coffee table books about the India Railway along with mini train models, clothing items and other railroad souvenirs.

4. Indian Museum, Kolkata

indian museum

Also called the Imperial Museum of Calcutta, this is the largest and the oldest museum complex not only in India but across the Asia-Pacific region of the world. It has a total of thirty-five galleries, divided into six sections namely Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, Geology, Zoology, and Economic Botany. Home to many unique and rare specimens of humanities and natural sciences, it also has Egyptian, Indian, and other natural history collections. Being established in 1814 with an aim to provide a space for preservation of objects of cultural and scientific importance, the National Museum has been growing and expanding to include interesting and curious artifacts from all over the country.

5. Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

victoria-memorial-kolkata

Situated at the banks of the Hooghly river, Victoria Memorial comprises of twenty-five galleries where the one can witness the journey of the British empire through India. The Victoria Memorial also has a collection of rare and antiquarian books along with a number of portraits and paintings. The gardens around this stately building cover an area of 64 hectares, well maintained and accessible to the visitors. It houses rare photographs of Queen Victoria and other members of importance in the British Government along with ancient manuscripts and Indian paintings. The Museum also hosts a series of special events throughout the year where the visitors can enjoy lectures and interactive session held by conservators and curators.

6. Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai

prince-of-wales-museum-mumbai

Enjoying the status of Grade I Heritage Building the Prince of Wales Museum, renamed as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj VastuSangrahalaya, houses over 50,000 artifacts and collection comprising of sculptures, terracotta, bronze, excavated artifacts from the Harappan sites, Indian miniature paintings, European paintings, porcelain and ivories from China and Japan, etc. A separate Building of Natural History is also included in this museum where one can witness the changes in the natural ecosystems. Decorative art objects in jade, wood, ivory, metal and textiles, Nepalese and Tibetan artifacts, as well as the Numismatic collection, can all be viewed in this awe-inspiring Museum. This three storied building was constructed in early 1900, and the collections here have been increasing ever since. With fun interactive sessions and history workshops this museum is one of the few places where one can understand the rich heritage of India completely.

7. National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai

national-gallery-of-modern-art-mumbai

Standing right opposite the Prince of Wales Museum, this amazing gallery houses multiple art pieces from the 1850’s onwards. Established in the year 1966, NGMA hosts various exhibitions and art collections of famous artists, sculptors and different civilisations. Just the architecture of this building is enough to glaze the visitors eyes, with its regal dome and crescent shaped galleries. The gallery is a repository of the cultural ethos of the country and showcases the changing art forms through the passage of the last hundred and fifty years starting from about 1857 in the field of Visual art and Plastic arts. The collection at NGMA is undeniably the most significant collection of modern and contemporary art in the country today.

8. Salar Jung Museum Hyderabad

salar-jung-museum-hyderabad

One of the largest museums in the world, the Salar Jung Museums is located in the unassuming city of Hyderabad and houses a collection of sculptures, paintings, carvings, textiles, manuscripts, ceramics, metallic artifacts, carpets, clocks, and furniture from Japan, China, Burma, Nepal, India, Persia, Egypt, Europe, and North America. With most of the artifacts here coming from the Salar Jung Family, the museum today has over 38 galleries playing host to Indian, western and eastern collections. There is a special section here dedicated to the Quran where one can find samples of this holy book from around the world in different fonts and designs. One of the most attractive features in this museum is its collection of clocks ranging from ancient sundials to miniature clocks that one needs to observe using a magnifying glass. Apart from the galleries, there is a reference Library, reading room, publication and education section, chemical conservation lab, sales counter, cafeteria for the visitors.

9. Government Museum, Chennai

government-museum-chennai

A museum of human history and culture, the Government Museum in Chennai is well known for its rich archaeological and numismatic collections and is home to the largest collections of Roman Antiquities outside of Europe. Starting from the 1,100 geological specimens gifted to this Museum by the Madra Geological society, it has since the flourished into a complex containing 6 buildings and 46 galleries. The most imposing structure in this bunch of buildings is the Museum theater where one can marvel at the Italian style of architecture used in its making. There is a special section here called the Museum of Children which houses several static exhibits such as galleries of dolls adorned with costumes of various nations and civilisations and also exhibits pertaining to science, transportation, and technology.

10. HAL Heritage and Aerospace Museum, Bangalore

hal-heritage-and-aerospace-museum-bangalore

Filled with fun exhibits that you can touch, sit in and walk through, the HAL Aerospace Museum, Bangalore is quite unlike the traditional museums found elsewhere in the country. Showcasing the growth of the Indian Aviation industry and HAL over the past 6 decades, it has two major halls where one can witness the photographs depicting the growth of the Aviation industry and a Hall of Fame that takes the visitors on an exciting journey through the clouds. Various air crafts housed here give you a close idea of the grandeur of the Indian Air force. The museum also has a children’s play area that provides kids endless hours of fun.

All the museums no matter big or small, are sure to give travellers a gist of all the India has achieved since the olden times. Right from ancient artifacts to modern marvels of technology and extravagance can be viewed in these museums. Undoubtedly, there is no better way to learn about this versatile country than through its houses of art and technology. Not just that, one can also take home memorabilia from these museums in the form of clothing items with special prints, book and replicas of the displays. No matter your age, every visitor is sure to enjoy a journey that comes with a visit to these stunning historic buildings.


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