Most Visited And Popular Museums In India
Mention of the word ‘museum’ doesn’t really bring on the enthusiasm for most people or get one’s spirit high in the normal course of conversation or a plan on a holiday trip, unless you are passionate about history, the past and evolution of various facets of life. However, a country like India with such a rich, glorious past and impressive cultural heritage, has a lot of interesting facts, stories, displays, photographs, artifacts and several other items in the museums established across the regions, to boast of and spark interest even in the minds of the casual and indifferent visitors to these destinations.
While almost every state has a museum that tells and displays true stories and facts of their impressive past, we have listed just a few of the popular and different themed museums that one could joyfully visit at any time.
Indian Museum, Kolkata :
Previously known as the Imperial Museum during the British era in Calcutta, the Indian Museum is the largest and oldest museum in India and displays some rare collections of antiques, Mughal paintings, fossils, skeletons, ornaments and armours and mummies. Founded by the Asiatic Society of Bengal in Kolkata, the Museum is housed in a stunning mansion which comprises of six sections; Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, Zoology, Geology and Economic Botany.
Timings: 10 am to 5 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. Mondays Closed.
How to reach :
By Air – The Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Dumdum has very good flight connections with several cities across the country and abroad. From here, a taxi or bus will take you to your destination.
By Train – The two major railway stations at Howrah and Sealdah have good rail connectivity with many other Indian cities.
By Bus – Kolkata has a huge network of Private and Government run buses which connect the city to several others in the country.
National Museum, Delhi :
The National Museum in Delhi is one of the largest museums in India and is administered and funded by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Tourism. Consisting of two floors, the National Museum building has a round structure which houses an amazing collection of articles right from the pre-historic era to modern contemporary art. Covering a span of over 5000 years, the museum displays over 200,000 works of art, of both Indian and foreign origin, depicting the rich cultural heritage of different parts of the world. The assortment includes Sculptures in stone, bronze and terracota, arms, armours, jewellery, decorative arts, manuscripts, miniatures, Tanjore paintings, collections of coins, bank notes and medals, Anthropology, Epigraphy, Central Asian Antiquities, Pre-Columbian American and Western Art Collections.
Timings: 10 am to 5 pm. Mondays closed.
How to reach :
By Air – The Indira Gandhi International Airport is very well connected to other major cities of the country.
By Train – Delhi has a great rail network with several other cities across India.
By Bus – Regular buses to Delhi are available from many cities across India.
Shivalik Fossil Park Museum, Sirmour, Himachal Pradesh :
The Shivalik Fossil Park which is also known as the Suketi Fossil Park, is a notified National Geo-heritage monument fossil park in Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh and is Asia’s biggest Fossil Park. The park exhibits life-size fibre-glass models of extinct mammals in open-air, in a recreation of the Shivalik Hills environment of the Plio-Pleistocene era and also displays fossil finds in a museum within the precincts of the park. The museum has a collection of prehistoric vertebrate fossils and skeletons, recovered from the upper and middle Shivaliks geological formations of sandstone and clay at Suketi. The idea of creating a museum within the park, was to protect the fossil site and prevent the fossils from being randomly destroyed and sabotaged. All of these exhibits create quite an interest in science in the minds of the visitors and provide information to visiting research scholars for international studies, from around the world.
Timings: 10 am to 5 pm from Wednesday to Monday. Tuesdays Closed.
How to reach :
By Air – Suketi is just 21 km from Nahan and as there are no regular flights from other cities of the country to Nahan, one can travel to Chandigarh which is 50 kms away.
By Train – As Nahan does not have a railway station, one can travel to Barog.
By Bus – Regualar buses to Nahan are available from several cities of the country.
International Dolls Museum, Delhi :
The International Dolls Museum was set up by Mr. K.Shankar Pillai, a political cartoonist, way back in November 1965 along with then Prime Minister Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi. The main collection at this museum is mostly gifts from Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and many other subsequent Prime Ministers, including Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi and dolls made in a special workshop in the museum, representing different the different States of India and various aspects of their life. The museum also received dolls as gifts from several embassies, visiting dignitaries from different nations and Diplomatic missions in Delhi making this an interesting centre and place of delight for children too, with dolls from across the globe. Having started with a small collection of just around 500 dolls at the time of inauguration of the museum, this centre now holds more than 6,500 exhibits from nearly 85 countries. The museum is located in the Children’s Book Trust Building set up by Mr.Pillai and occupies nearly 5,200 sq.ft on the 1st floor.
Timings: 10 am to 5.30 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. Mondays Closed.
Naval Aviation Museum, Goa :
This is a military museum which displays the various stages of evolution of the Indian Naval Air Arm over decades and is mostly found fascinating by both young boys as well as older men. The museum is located in Bogmalo, 6 kms from Vasco da Gama in Goa. The exhibits are displayed in the outdoors as well as in a two-storey building appointed as a museum. The exhibits in the outdoors are displayed in a huge park, where visitors can walk through and check out the various aircrafts that are now out of commission but at one time served the navy, some belonging to a period before 1940. The indoor gallery provides a lot of reading material on the important battles that were fought by the Indian Air and Naval forces. The gallery is divided into different sections, each specific to a certain topic, like ‘armaments’, which displays the military weapons attached to ships and submarines; ‘attire’, which shows the various uniforms worn by the Indian Air and Naval forces over the years and several such interesting details pertinent to the Indian Air and Naval forces. Rare and vintage photographs of various important periods in Naval Aviation history and gigantic replicas of the INS Vikrant and INS Viraat are also on display here along with a variety of bombs, torpedos, sensors and cannons used by the Indian Navy.
Timings: 10 am to 5.00 pm on all days, except Mondays.
How to reach :
By Air – The Goa International Airport or Dabolim Airport is well connected with several cities across the country. From here one can travel to Vasco da Gama by bus, cab or hired cars.
By Train – The railway stations at Thivim, Madgaon and Karmali have good rail connectivity with various other Indian cities while the railway station at Vasco is connected to the cities of South and Central India only.
By Bus – Regular buses ply between Vasco da Gama and several other cities of Goa.
Sulabh International Museum Of Toilet, Delhi :
This museum, located in Delhi and founded by world renowned Social activist and Sociologist Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, has an unusual theme and is unique in concept and idea. It never fails to generate interest and amusement amongst visitors from both, within the country and from abroad, ranging right from school students, nurses, doctors, engineers, designers, Government officials etc. The museum has an extensive collection of facts, pictures and objects which narrate the evolution of toilets from 2500 BC to date. Details regarding sanitary conditions prevailing during various times, toilet related social customs, toilet etiquette and legislative efforts during those times are available here. It also has an interesting collection of chamber pots, privies, toilet furniture, bidets etc. which were in use from the ancient days to modern times and is segregated into ancient, medieval and modern.
Timings: Mon to Sat – 8 am to 8 pm; Sundays & National Holidays – 10 am to 5 pm.
National Rail Museum, New Delhi :
With an extensive display on the history of the Indian Railway system, the National Rail Museum at Chanakyapuri in New Delhi, provides some interesting insights into the progression of the country’s railway system over the decades. The museum is spread across more than 10 acres of land with indoor and outdoor exhibits, including a Diesel Simulator, Steam Simulator and a Coach Simulator. A mini-train provides visitors with a tour of the site on regular days and adds that novelty and fun factor for children accompanying their parents on this visit. The museum exhibits an impressive collection of more than 100 life-size displays of Indian Railways, some antique furniture, historical photographs, signaling tools, working models and lots more.
Timings: 9.30 am to 5.30 pm on all days except Mondays and National Holidays.
Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad :
The Salar Jung Museum is one of the three National Museums of India and is situated at Dar-ul-shifa, on the bank of the Musi River in Hyderabad, Telangana. This art museum has an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, carvings, textiles, manuscripts, ceramics, carpets, clocks and furniture from Japan, Burma, China, Nepal, Egypt, India, Europe and North America. One of the largest museums in the world, the items displayed within are sourced from the Salar Jung family, after whom the Museum is named. This semi-circular shaped building has 38 galleries, which are spread across two floors. Apart from these galleries, there is a reference library, reading room, publication and education section, sales counter, cafeteria etc. which a visitor can enjoy. An interesting display is the room of Clocks which range from ancient sundials to modern day artistic clocks from all across the globe.
Timings: 10 am to 5 pm daily. Fridays Closed.
How to reach :
By Air – The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad has great flight connectivity with several cities of India and abroad.
By Train – Hyderabad Deccan at Nampally is the railway junction which has a good rail network with other cities in India. This station is just 4 kms away from Salar Jung Museum.
By Bus – Private as well as State-run buses ply regularly between Hyderabad and several other cities in India.
Picture Credits :
Indian Museum – museumsofindia.gov.in, National Museum – trodly.com, International Dolls Museum – blog.travelogyindia.com, Naval Aviation Museum – Thrillophilia.com, Sulabh International Museum Of Toilet – theculturetrip.com, National Rail Museum & Salar Jung Museum Hyderabad – www.tourmyindia.com, Shivalik Fossil Park Museum – The Sirmour Retreat