Revisiting History: Best Known Museums in India

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Preserving a major chunk of India’s ancient and colourful history are some of the oldest and popular museums scattered across the country. An insightful trip to India is incomplete without a visit to at least a few of these museums. Take a look!

Indian Museum, Kolkata

Founded in 1814 by the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Indian Museum is the oldest museum in the country. Comprising of over 35 galleries spread across six sections, it features a wide collection of antiques, artefacts, fossils, paintings and other valuables. The National Emblem, an elephant skeleton, Ashok Stambha, rare Egyptian mummies and human skulls from the Indus Valley Civilization are among the major exhibits at the museum. Exhibitions, workshops, training programs, special lectures, seminars and other multi-cultural activities are organised regularly for the visitors here.

The Prince of Whales Museum, Mumbai

Now known as ‘Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya’, The Prince of Whales Museum is a popular tourist attraction in Mumbai. Built in 1922 using Indo-Saracenic architectural style, the museum is home to approximately 50,000 artefacts along with several collectables including minerals, rocks and fossils. The Karl and Meherbai Khandalavala collection, manuscripts dating back to the early 11th and 12th centuries, sculptures, coins, plaster replica of Astamurti (a form of Shiva), statues of Buddha, Akbar’s armour and Japanese sculptures are among the famous items on display here.

National Museum, Delhi

Located in the capital city, New Delhi, the National Museum is one of the largest museums in India. Established in 1949 by the Government of India, it houses a wide collection of artefacts, manuscripts, miniatures, paintings, textiles, antiques, sculptures (stone, bronze and terracotta), jewellery items and other valuables. Items from the Indus Valley Civilization displayed at the Harappan Gallery are quite impressive. The dancing girl bronze figurine, toy cat, statue of Mother Goddess, seals, pottery items and bronze toys are other popular items displayed at the museum.

Government Museum, Chennai

Established in 1851, Government Museum is the second oldest museum in India. Located in the city of Chennai in the southern Indian province of Tamil Nadu, this historic museum features the largest collection of Roman antiques along with numerous artefacts, manuscripts, paintings, sculptures and other valuables. Amravati figures, Thanjavur armoury, South Indian bronze statues, copper plates and artefacts from the Megaliths are the key exhibits at the museum.

Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad

Located in the city of Hyderabad, India’s well known technological hub, Salar Jung Museum houses a large collection of antiques, sculptures, paintings, carvings, textiles, manuscripts, paintings and other interesting artefacts from India and other parts of the world. Aurangzeb’s sword, the wardrobe of Tipu Sultan and the paintings of legendary Raja Ravi Varma are all big hits with the visitors. The British Bracket Clock is among the most important artefacts in the museum.