India is known for many great things such as their spiritual practices and their Vedic cultures but it should not be overlooked when it comes to cultural establishments. Today, we are going to explore some of the most exquisite museums that should not be missed by anyone who wishes to delve deeper into their world. Let us look for the concept of Nirvana together through the spectrum of the legacy of the preserved old times!
1. Indian Museum:
Located in the Chowringhee neighbourhood of Kolkata (Calcutta), West Bengal, the Indian Museum is the largest and the oldest museum of its parent country. Founded in 1814 by the Asiatic Society of Bengal (specifically by Danish-born botanist Nathaniel Wallich), the establishment boasts with a collection of over 100,000 items. These items are distributed into six distinct sections: the Art section, the Archaeology section, the Geology section, the Zoology section, the Economic Botany section and, finally the Anthropology section. Listed in the Institute of National Importance in the seventh schedule of the Constitution of India, it even boasts with an Egyptian mummy, the ashes of the Buddha, the Ashoka Pillar, the Buddhist stupa of Bharhut, and many others. Oh, and do not forget about the preserved 8-legged goat in the Zoology section, for it is both scary and impressive!
2. National Museum:
Next up, we have another contestant for the “largest museum of India” title: the National Museum of New Delhi. Boasting with a massive collection of over 200,000 items, the establishment functions under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture (Government of India). Dedicated to fine arts, the museum covers more than 5,000 years of creation and creativity. The building in which it is housed harbours the National Museum Institute of History of Arts, Conservation and Museology as well (now part of the Deemed University). The following sections are open to the public and are all outstanding: Pre-History Archaeology, Archaeology, Numismatics & Epigraphy, Manuscripts, Arms & Armour, Paintings, Central Asian Antiquities, Public Relations, Pre-Columbian Art, Decorative Arts, Anthropology, Education, Jewellery, Conservation, and, finally, Publication. Located at the intersection of the Janpath and the Maulana Azad Roads, it is easily reachable via the Yellow Line of the Delhi Metro (at the Udyog Bhawan station). Oh, and let us not forget about the fact that the building has 2 floors and looks a lot like the American Pentagon (wink).
3. Salar Jung Museum:
From New Delhi, we hop all the way to Darushifa (Hyderabad) and its majestic Salar Jung Museum located on the southern bank of the Musi River. Now this is a place that has many interesting things for you to look at. For starters, its collection contains more than 1.1 million objects. These objects are distributed into the following groups: art, carpets, clocks, carvings, textiles, manuscripts and even ceramics. One of its most interesting attractions is the renowned clock room: from ancient obelisk-like sundials to modern mechanical clocks, you can find anything there (so, if you are one of those tinkering geniuses, this would be the perfect place for you). And if that wasn’t enough to entice you to visit it, then know that it has one of the most prominent Quran collections in the world (a notable example would be the famous “Quran Written with Gold and Silver”). Other important items on display include: paintings from Raja Ravi Varma, a well-preserved wardrobe of Tipu Sultan, the sword of the famous Mughal Emperor Abu’l Muzaffar Muhi-ud-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir, and artefacts (including furniture) from the times of King Louis XIV and Napoleon. Note that the museum is closed on Fridays and if you wish to be allowed to use a camera, you have to pay an extra fee. Be one of the millions of visitors who breach its bounds annually!
4. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya:
Mumbai could not have stayed out of the competition for too long for its Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India) is simply astonishing. Located close to the renowned Gateway of India and established in 1922, the establishment boasts with a collection of over 50,000 items pertaining to the past of India and of other countries as well. One of its most important attractions is the Indus Valley Civilization artefact collection (not to mention the relics and the items pertaining to the Mauryas, Guptas, Chalukyas and Rashtrakuta). You can find it at M. G. Road, within the bounds of the Fort precinct. Definitely a must-see!
Did you enjoy our list? How many of the aforementioned museums have you visited and how many are still on your bucket list? Tell us all about it in the comment section below and be sure to check back for some interesting updates! Safe travels!