Popular Museums in India!

Having museums is a global concept that’s common to every country. It narrates the story of the past and showcases how the humanity has evolved in hundreds of years. India displays an extensive bouquet of resources that sheds light on its rich culture and heritage of the past. Their significance is profound as it helps preserve objects and materials of cultural, historical and religious importance and showcases it to public in an intriguing manner that piques interest, offers amusement, and is indispensable for research and educational purposes.
Museums in India in house a large collection Indian sculptures and objects of cultural, historical and religious importance to gaze upon. Explore this inevitable part on your journey to discover India through extraordinary selection of exhibits.

1. Indian Museum
Indian Museum
Indian Museum - Show on Map

The Indian Museum in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, also referred to as the Imperial Museum at Calcutta in colonial-era texts, is the ninth oldest museum of the world, oldest museum in India and the largest museum in India. It has rare collections of antiques, armour and ornaments, fossils, skeletons, mummies and Mughal paintings. It was founded by the Asiatic Society of Bengal in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, in 1814. The founder curator was Nathaniel Wallich, a Danish botanist. It has six sections comprising thirty five galleries of cultural and scientific artifacts namely Indian art, archaeology, anthropology, geology, zoology and economic botany. Many rare and unique specimens, both Indian and trans-Indian, relating to humanities and natural sciences, are preserved and displayed in the galleries of these sections. In particular the art and archaeology sections hold collections of international importance. It is an autonomous organization under Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The present Director of the Indian Museum is Shri Arijit Dutta Choudhury who is also the Director General, NCSM and having the additional charge of Director Genral of National Library. The administrative control of the Cultural sections, viz. Art, Archaeology and Anthropology rests with the Board of Trustees under its Directorate, and that of the three other science sections is with the geological survey of India, the zoological survey of India and the Botanical survey of India. The museum Directorate has eight co-ordinating service units: Education, Preservation, publication, presentation, photography, medical, modelling and library. This multipurpose institution with multidisciplinary activities is being included as an Institute of national importance in the seventh schedule of the Constitution of India.

The Indian Museum is the largest and oldest museum in India and has rare collections of antiques, armour and ornaments, fossils, skeletons, mummies, and Mughal paintings. It was founded by the Asiatic Society of Bengal in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, in 1814. The founder curator was Dr Nathaniel Wallich, a Danish botanist. It has six sections comprising thirty five galleries of cultural and scientific artifacts namely Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, Geology, Zoology and Economic Botany. Exhibits of the museum include dinosaur skeletons, replica of the 2nd century BC Barhut Stupa, etc. In the must watch category, we have the 4,000-year-old Egyptian Mummy and the urn that is said to contain the relics of the Buddha.Best time to visit: Winter: October-April

2. National Gallery of Modern Art
National Gallery of Modern Art
National Gallery of Modern Art - Show on Map

The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) is the premier art gallery under Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The main museum at Jaipur House in New Delhi was established on 29 March 1954 by the Government of India, with subsequent branches at Mumbai and Bangalore. Its collection of more than 1700 works by 2000 plus artists includes artists such as Thomas Daniell, Raja Ravi Verma, Abanindranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore, Gaganendranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy, Amrita Sher-Gil as well as foreign artists. Some of the oldest works preserved here date back to 1857. With 12,000 square meters of exhibition space, the Delhi branch is one of the world's largest modern art museums.

National Gallery of Modern Art Once the palace of the Maharaja of Jaipur, this gallery is a repository of the works of all the great modern Indian artists. Here you can find works by Amrita Sher-Gil, Nobel laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore and MF Husain. It remains closed on Mondays and Public Holidays.

3. National Gallery of Modern Art
National Gallery of Modern Art
National Gallery of Modern Art - Show on Map

The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) is the premier art gallery under Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The main museum at Jaipur House in New Delhi was established on 29 March 1954 by the Government of India, with subsequent branches at Mumbai and Bangalore. Its collection of more than 1700 works by 2000 plus artists includes artists such as Thomas Daniell, Raja Ravi Verma, Abanindranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore, Gaganendranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy, Amrita Sher-Gil as well as foreign artists. Some of the oldest works preserved here date back to 1857. With 12,000 square meters of exhibition space, the Delhi branch is one of the world's largest modern art museums.

If you wish to attend lectures, seminars and conferences, and to encourage higher studies and research in the field of art history, art criticism, art appreciation, musicology and the inter-relations on visual and performing arts then NGMA is the place for you. The idea of a national art gallery to germinate and bear fruit was first mooted in 1949. It was nurtured carefully by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Maulana Azad, sensitive bureaucrats like Humayun Kabir and an active art community. The Gallery is the premier institution of its kind in India. The gallery is a repository of the cultural ethos of the country and showcases the changing art forms through the passage of the last 150 years. Notwithstanding some gaps, the NGMA collection today is undeniably the most significant collection of modern and contemporary art in the country today.

 
 
 
4. National Museum, Delhi
National Museum, Delhi
National Museum - Show on Map

A national museum is a museum maintained by a state. In many countries it denotes a museum run by the central government, and often is restricted to a few museums, mostly in the capital, while other museums are run by regional or local government, or foundations. In other countries a much larger number of museums are run by the central government, some quite small. Some national museums use the term in their name, but others do not; some museums just adopt the term as a matter of branding. The following is an incomplete list of national museums:

The National Museum If you only visit one museum in Delhi, make sure it’s the National Museum. A couple of hours’ stay here will equip you with the historical knowledge you will need for when you go exploring the capital city as well as the rest of India. Documenting history and culture of the Indian subcontinent, the museum owns some 150,000 items covering some 5 millennia. Some of the gems of the museum are the Chola statue of the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva, finds from the Indus Valley Civilization, relics of the Buddha from Piprahwa and an amazing collection of miniature paintings.

5. Victoria Memorial, Kolkata
Victoria Memorial, Kolkata
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The Victoria Memorial is a large marble building in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, which was built between 1906 and 1921. It is dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria, then Empress of India, and is now a museum and tourist destination under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture. The memorial lies on the Maidan (grounds) by the bank of the Hooghly River, near Jawaharlal Nehru Road (better known as Chowringhee Road).

The monument which draws the largest crowds to Kolkata is the Victoria Memorial, dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria. It houses an excellent collection of British Raj memorabilia including paintings and manuscripts. The foundation stone of this domed structure was laid by the then Prince of Wales (later King George V) in 1906.

6. Salar Jung Museum
Salar Jung Museum
Salar Jung Museum - Show on Map

The Salar Jung Museum is an art museum located at Dar-ul-Shifa, on the southern bank of the Musi River in the city of Hyderabad, Telangana, India. It is one of the three National Museums of India. Originally a private art collection of the Salar Jung family, it was endowed to the nation after the death of Salar Jung III. It was inaugurated on 16 December 1951. It has 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. It is one of the largest museums in the world.

The Salar Jung Museum is an art museum located at Darushifa, on the southern bank of the Musi River in the city of Hyderabad, Telangana, India. It is one of the National Museums of India. It has a collection of sculptures, paintings, carvings, textiles, manuscripts, ceramics, metallic artefacts, carpets, clocks, and furniture from Japan, China, Burma, Nepal, India, Persia, Egypt, Europe, and North America. The museum's collection was sourced from the property of the Salar Jung family. It is one of the largest museums in the world.

7. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya - Show on Map

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya is the main museum in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It was founded in the early years of the 20th century by prominent citizens of Mumbai, with the help of the government, to commemorate the visit of George V, who was Prince of Wales at the time. It is located in the heart of South Mumbai near the Gateway of India. The museum was renamed in 1998 after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of Maratha Empire. The building is built in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, incorporating elements of other styles of architecture like the Mughal, Maratha and Jain. The museum building is surrounded by a garden of palm trees and formal flower beds. The museum houses approximately 50,000 exhibits of ancient Indian history as well as objects from foreign lands, categorized primarily into three sections: Art, Archaeology and Natural History. The museum houses Indus Valley Civilization artefacts, and other relics from ancient India from the time of the Guptas, Mauryas, Chalukyas and Rashtrakuta.

If ever a window was required to peep into the fascinating world of art and antiquities, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India is the right place to visit. This museum is most famous for having acquired a huge collection of Indian miniatures and other important antiquities, more particularly, the Maratha textiles, arms and armour from the collection of Seth Purshottam Mavji. This collection was once a part of the treasures of Nana Phadnavis, the most influential minister during the reign of the Peshwas. The importance of the museum has also been enhanced due to the donation of a fascinating art collection from the repository of Sir Ratan Tata and Sir Dorabji Tata. Built from a winning entry by architect George Wittet in 1909, the museum offers insights into the rich past of the country with its archaeological artefacts sourced from various excavated sites. The museum has a representative collection of various forms of art from the Indian subcontinent and also to a certain extent works of art from China, Japan and European countries. Additionally, it houses a study collection of natural history specimens.

8. Albert Hall Museum
Albert Hall Museum
Albert Hall Museum - Show on Map
09:00 - 06:00

The Albert Hall Museum in Jaipur is the oldest museum of the state and functions as the state museum of Rajasthan, India. The building is situated in Ram Niwas garden outside the city wall opposite New gate and is a fine example of Indo-Saracenic architecture. It is also called the Government Central Museum.

The building gets its name from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the inspiration for its design. The exquisitely built Albert Hall is housed in the centre of Ram Niwas Garden. Sir Swinton Jacob conceptualised and designed it using styles from the Indo-Sarasenic architecture and the Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone of the building in 1876. The museum displays a wide range of metal objects, wood crafts, carpets, stone and metal sculptures, arms and weapons, natural stones and ivory goods. It also houses a large collection of miniatures from Bundi, Kota, Kishangarh, Udaipur and Jaipur schools of art.

9. Jai Vilas Mahal
Jai Vilas Mahal
Jai Vilas Palace - Show on Map

The Jai Vilas Mahal (Hindi: जय विलास महल), also known as the Jai Vilas Palace, is a nineteenth century palace in Gwalior, India. It was established in 1874 by Maharajadhiraj Shrimant Jayajirao Scindia Alijah Bahadur, the Maharaja of Gwalior. While the major part of the palace is now the "Jiwajirao Scindia Museum" opened to the public in 1964, a part of it is still the residence of his descendants the former royal Maratha Scindia dynasty. It is a fine example of European architecture, designed and built by Sir Michael Filose. A combination of architectural styles, the first storey is Tuscan, the second Italian-Doric and the third Corinthian. The area of the Jai Vilas palace is 1,240,771 square feet and it is particularly famous for its large Durbar Hall. The interior of the Durbar Hall is decorated with gilt and gold furnishings and adorned with a huge carpet and gigantic chandeliers. It is 100 feet long, 50 feet wide and 41 feet in height. The palace was described by Sir William Howard Russell in 1877 The Palace covers an area of 124,771 square feet, exclusive of the inner square, which is 321 by 321% feet. The building is double-storied, and the wings and turrets are three- and five-storied. Its total length is 106 feet. The first story is Tuscan, second Italian Doric, and the third Corinthian order of architecture. The interior of the Reception-room is 97 feet 8 inches long by 50 feet broad, and it is 41 feet in height. The roof is arched with stone slabs 21 feet long, which enabled the architect to make the ribs prominent. They rest at each end on double Corinthian columns, which form a colonnade round the interior. The interior and exterior of the Palace form a combination of arcades and colonnades. Upwards of 300,000 leaves of gold were‘used to decorate the Reception-hall. The Grand Staircase-room is roofed with stone slabs 30 feet long; the room opposite to it is roofed in the same way. This room was used for dancing. The length of each of these rooms is 50 feet. The Grand Drawing-room, one of the finest saloons in the world, is hung with wonderful chandeliers, and decorated with enormous mirrors. The Prince's bedstead, washing service, and bath were of solid silver. The cost of the Palace was a little above 1,100,000 rupees. But the garden-walls, iron railings, gardens, furniture, glass, grand staircase, chandeliers, etc, cost about 500,000 rupees more. The area of the garden is about one square mile; there are several waterfalls and a number of fountains in it. A large room preserves the desk and photographs of Madhavrao Scindia, who served as the Railway Minister of India. Many of the rooms, including drawing rooms, bed rooms and bath rooms, have been preserved just as they were lavishly decorated for the royal family. The royal kitchen, with its furnaces, pots, china etc have been preserved. Supposedly, eight elephants were suspended from the durbar (royal court) hall ceiling to check it could cope with two 12.5m-high, 3.5-tonne chandeliers with 250 light bulbs, said to be the largest pair in the world. Unusual items fill many rooms: cut-glass furniture, stuffed tigers and a ladies-only swimming pool with its own boat. The cavernous dining room displays the pièce de résistance, a model silver train that carried after-dinner brandy and cigars around the table. In contrast to the western style dining room, a completely Indian style dining room is also preserved, which was used when the Maratha nobles were invited. The museum preserves the memory of the humble origin of Scindia (spelled in Hindi/Marathi Shinde) from the Kanherkhed village in Maharashtra. The family left its ancestral village in 1726, however it has continued to preserve its Maratha heritage. On special occasions, the Scindia family members still wear the Maratha style (Shineshahi pagdi) turban which uses 60 meters of Chanderi silk, with pointed ends. An exhibit at the museam explains the intricate steps involved in wrapping the special turban. A notable historical item is the planquin gifted by Mughal emperor Shah Alam II, who was restored to the throne by Mahadaji Scindia in 1787. A Rohilla courtier, Ghulam Qadir, had acquired control of Delhi. He humiliated the Mughal royal family and blinded the emperor Shah Alam II. The tragic event is described by a poem of Allama Iqbal. Mahadaji Scindia came to the Mughal familys rescue and captured Ghulam Qadir, and became the de facto ruler of Delhi. It attests to the power of Mahadaji Scindia who is occasionally times regarded by historians as the third most important personality in Maratha history, after Shivaji and Peshwa Bajirao.

Visit a stunning display of architectural grandeur of the bygone era. The palace built in European style has a blend of Tuscan, Italian and Corinthian styles. The palace is now converted into a museum. The palace was constructed by Maharaja Jiyaji Rao Scindia in the year 1875. The Durbar Hall in the palace has its walls decorated with golden leaves. The largest pair of chandeliers in Asia is found hanging in the palace. Now a museum the collections in Jai Vilas Palace are equally unique and awe inspiring.

10. Hill Palace, Tripunithura
Hill Palace, Tripunithura
Hill Palace Museum - Show on Map

Hill Palace is an archaeological museum and palace located in the Tripunithura neighbourhood of Kochi city in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the largest archeological museum in the sate and was the imperial administrative office and official residence of the Cochin Maharaja. Built in 1865, the palace complex consists of 49 buildings in the traditional architectural style, spreading across 54 acres (220,000 m2). The complex has an archaeological museum, a heritage museum, a deer park, a pre-historic park and a children’s park. The campus of the museum is home to several rare species of medicinal plants. Presently the palace has been converted into a museum by The Kerala State Archaeology Department and is open to public. The palace is about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from the city centre and is approachable by road and rail. The Centre for Heritage Studies (CHS), an autonomous research and training institute set up by the Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala also functions at the site. CHS is designated as the 'Manuscript Conservation Centre' (MCC) and Manuscript Resource Centre (MRC) by the National Mission for Manuscripts.

Hill Palace Archaeological Museum Thripunithura The hill top palace built in 1865, consists of 49 buildings and sprawls across 52 acres of lush green land. It is a blend of Dutch and traditional architectural styles. There are 18 main galleries displaying the royal throne, pictures of former rulers, Tanjore paintings etc.

11. State Museum Lucknow
State Museum Lucknow
Lucknow Museum - Show on Map

The State Museum, Lucknow is a prominent museum located in the capital city of Uttar Pradesh, India. The museum is currently located in the Nawab Wajid Ali Shah Zoological Gardens, Banarasi Bagh, Lucknow. The museum was established in 1863 from the collection of Colonel Abbot, and was given the status of ‘Provincial Museum’ before being renamed the ‘State Museum’ in 1950. The collection housed in the museum consists of objects from the prehistoric period, bronze age, plaster casts of famous figurines from the Indus Valley Civilization, as well as a rich collection of numismatics, paintings, manuscripts and textiles.

State Museum / Zoo The State Museum in Lucknow is the oldest and largest multipurpose museum of Uttar Pradesh, established in 1863. A favourite spot for recreation and travel buffs, it has hundreds of antiquities and other exhibits on display. Its areas of acquisition include art and archaeology, paintings, manuscripts, numismatics and anthropology. The State Museum houses a large collection of artefacts and memorabilia as well as sculptural masterpieces dating back to the 3rd century AD.

12. Bharat Bhavan
Bharat Bhavan
Bharat Bhawan - Show on Map
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Bharat Bhavan is an autonomous multi-arts complex and museum in Bhopal, India, established and funded by the Government of Madhya Pradesh.The architect of Bhavan is Charles Correa. Opened in 1982, facing the Upper Lake, Bhopal, it houses an art gallery, a fine art workshop, an open-air amphitheater, a studio theatre, an auditorium, a museum tribal and folk art, libraries of Indian poetry, classical music as well as folk music.

Bharat Bhawan is among the most prestigious national institutes in India. Thiscentre for the performing and visual arts was designed by the renowned architect Charles Mark Correa. There is a museum of the arts, an art gallery, a workshop for fine arts, a reparatory theatre, indoor and outdoor auditoria, rehearsal rooms, and libraries of Indian poetry, classical and folk music.

13. Diu Museum

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Diu Museum

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Visit the old St. Thomas Church that has been converted into a museum which is a repository of antique statues, wooden carvings, stone inscriptions, idols, shadow clocks, etc.

 

 

14. Kohima Museum
Kohima Museum
Kohima Municipal Council - Show on Map

Kohima ( pronunciation ) is the capital city of India's north eastern state of Nagaland. With a resident population of almost 100,000, it is the second largest city in the state. Originally known as Kewhira, Kohima was founded in 1878 when the British Empire established its headquarters of the then Naga Hills. It officially became the capital after the state of Nagaland was inaugurated in 1963. Kohima was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. The battle is often referred to as the ‘Stalingrad of the East’. In 2013, the British National Army Museum voted the Battle of Kohima to be ‘Britain's Greatest Battle’.Kohima constitutes both a district and a municipality. The municipality covers 20 km2 (7.7 sq mi). Kohima lies on the foothills of Japfü range located south of the District (25.67°N 94.12°E / 25.67; 94.12) and has an average elevation of 1,261 metres (4137 feet).

Kohima Museum It is very interesting and informative to see the traditions, culture and artefacts of the many different tribes of the state portrayed at the Kohima Museum. All 16 tribal groups from the region of Nagaland are represented here.

15. Lakhota Palace and Museum
Lakhota Palace and Museum
Lakhota Palace and Museum - Show on Map

Lakhota Palace And Museum The structure was originally designed as a fort so that soldiers posted around it could fend off an army of enemies with the lake acting as a moat, the tower known as Lakhota Palace now houses the Lakhota Museum. The museum exhibits artefacts spanning from 9th to 18th centuries, pottery from nearby medieval villages and the skeleton of a whale. First thing that will grab your attention at the entrance is the guardroom that is decorated with muskets, swords and powder flasks, which are reminiscent of the original purpose of the structure and proving the martial readiness of the state at the time. The walls of the museum are covered in frescoes depicting various battles fought by the ‘Jadeja Rajputs’. Lakhota fort is connected to the banks by two causeways, but is only accessible from the North side. Visiting hours are from 10.30am-2pm and 2.30pm-5.30pm.

16. Submarine Museum
Submarine Museum
VMRDA INS Kursura Submarine Museum - Show on Map
02:00 - 20:30

Submarine Museum This museum offers a dip into the history of India’s most sought-after submarine. Managed by retired personnel of Indian Navy, this museum is an experience not to be missed. Procured from Russia, this was India’s 5th submarine and participated in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Attracting a major number of visitors every day, the museum is manned by retired naval people. It offers a unique experience sharing the thrills and spills of life under the sea. http://indianvisaonline.gov.in/

INS Kursura (S20) was a Kalvari-class (variant of the Foxtrot-class) diesel-electric submarine of the Indian Navy. She was India's fifth submarine. Kursura was commissioned on 18 December 1969 and was decommissioned on 27 February 2001 after 31 years of service. She participated in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, where she played a key role in patrol missions. She later participated in naval exercises with other nations and made many goodwill visits to other countries. After decommissioning, she was preserved as a museum for public access on RK Beach in Visakhapatnam. Kursura has the distinction of being one of the very few submarine museums to retain originality and has been called a "must-visit destination" of Visakhapatnam. Despite being a decommissioned submarine, she still receives the navy's "Dressing Ship" honour, which is usually awarded only to active ships.

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