15 Museums of India To Visit At Least Once in Your Life

15 Museums of India To Visit At Least Once in Your Life

15 Museums of India To Visit At Least Once in Your Life

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Museums are pivotal in educating and inspiring the public, presenting curated collections that tell compelling stories of different civilisations and eras.

11th June 2024

By Ishika Kumar

Museums offer a fascinating window into the history, culture and creativity of human civilisations. Serving as custodians of knowledge, these institutions preserve artefacts, artworks and relics that illuminate the past, contextualise the present and inspire the future. 

Museums are pivotal in educating and inspiring the public, presenting curated collections that tell compelling stories of different civilisations and eras. In India, a land rich with diverse heritage, several museums stand out as must-visit destinations for anyone keen on delving into the country’s profound cultural legacy.

1.    Victoria Memorial, Kolkata: A magnificent example of colonial architecture is the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata. It is dedicated to Queen Victoria, and houses an extensive collection of British colonial artefacts, paintings and manuscripts, offering visitors a glimpse into the colonial history of India. The Victoria Memorial’s imposing structure and beautiful gardens make it a prominent landmark and a vessel of colonial history.

2.    Heritage Transport Museum, Gurugram: The Heritage Transport Museum in Gurugram offers a captivating journey through India’s transportation history. The museum features vintage cars, motorcycles, railway coaches, aircraft and other modes of transport, providing visitors with a comprehensive look at the evolution of transportation technology and its societal impact through time.

3.    National Museum, New Delhi: In the bustling heart of India’s capital, the National Museum stands as a monumental archive of the nation’s history. One of the largest museums in the country, it boasts an extensive collection that spans millennia. From the relics of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation to intricate Mughal-era paintings and ancient manuscripts, the National Museum provides a comprehensive overview of India’s cultural evolution. Each artefact and exhibit is a testament to the country’s rich and varied past.

4.    Indian Museum, Kolkata: The Indian Museum in Kolkata, established in 1814, holds the distinction of being the oldest and one of the largest museums in Asia. Its vast and diverse collections include antiques, fossils, Mughal paintings and Egyptian mummies, among other treasures. The museum’s exhibits also span numerous disciplines such as archaeology, art, anthropology, geology and zoology, offering a multidisciplinary approach to understanding India’s heritage.

5.    Don Bosco Museum of Indigenous Cultures, Shillong: This museum in Shillong celebrates the diverse indigenous cultures of Northeast India. Exhibits include tribal traditions, rituals, arts and crafts, providing a deep dive into the cultural heritage of the region. One of its unique features is the Skywalk Exhibition, offering panoramic views of the city.

6.    Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad: The Salar Jung Museum, one of India’s three National Museums, is renowned for its eclectic collection amassed by Mir Yousuf Ali Khan, also known as Salar Jung III. The exhibits range from Indian art and European paintings to Middle Eastern antiques and Far Eastern artefacts, reflecting the broad and discerning tastes of its collectors.

7.    Jaipur City Palace Museum, Jaipur: Situated within the City Palace complex, the Jaipur City Palace Museum offers a fascinating insight into the royal heritage of Rajasthan. The museum’s exhibits include royal costumes, manuscripts and an armoury, along with an impressive collection of Mughal and Rajasthani miniatures. Each exhibit tells a story of the opulent lifestyle and rich cultural traditions of the region’s erstwhile royalty.

8.    Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai: Formerly known as the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai showcases the city’s cultural heritage and history through displays of fine and decorative arts, historical photographs and models. The museum’s beautifully restored interiors reflect its rich legacy and make it a significant cultural landmark.

9.    Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai: Formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum, this iconic Mumbai landmark is celebrated for its impressive Indo-Saracenic architecture. Inside, visitors will find a remarkable collection of artefacts, including ancient sculptures, decorative arts and rare coins. The museum’s aesthetic appeal is matched by the depth of its collections, making it a pivotal cultural institution in the bustling metropolis of Mumbai.

10.  VMRDA INS Kursura Submarine Museum, Visakhapatnam: Located within a decommissioned submarine, the VMRDA INS Kursura Submarine Museum in Visakhapatnam offers an opportunity to explore a submarine’s interior and learn about India’s naval history. Visitors can tour the submarine’s compartments and gain insights into the life of submariners.

11.  National Rail Museum, New Delhi: Dedicated to India’s extensive railway heritage, the National Rail Museum in New Delhi features an extensive collection of historic locomotives, carriages and railway artefacts. Interactive exhibits and a toy train ride add a unique and engaging dimension to the museum, making it a delightful experience for visitors of all ages.

12.  Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, New Delhi: A visit to the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets in New Delhi offers a quirky yet educational journey through the history of sanitation and toilet technology. Established by the Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, the museum highlights the evolution of toilets from ancient times to modern innovations, emphasising the importance of sanitation for public health.

13.  Calico Museum of Textiles, Ahmedabad: The Calico Museum in Ahmedabad is celebrated for its comprehensive collection of Indian textiles. This museum showcases the rich textile heritage of India through exhibits of traditional fabrics, intricate embroideries and detailed patterns from various regions and historical periods. It is a must-visit for those interested in the craftsmanship and cultural significance of Indian textiles.

14.  Government Museum, Chennai: Renowned for its significant collections in archaeology, numismatics and natural history, the Government Museum in Chennai is a treasure trove of historical artefacts. The Bronze Gallery, showcasing exquisite Chola bronzes, stands out as a highlight, attracting art and history enthusiasts from around the world.

15.  Shankar’s International Dolls Museum, New Delhi: Founded by renowned political cartoonist K. Shankar Pillai, this museum houses over 6,000 dolls from around the world. Each doll represents the traditional attire and cultural heritage of its country, fostering cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.

India’s museums, with their diverse and rich collections, provide an unparalleled look into the country’s culture and history. From grand national institutions to unique, niche museums, these repositories of knowledge and heritage are essential stops in any cultural exploration of India.