14 Museums in India that any History Buff Would Love to Visit

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For those who are fond of history, a museum is a mirror of the society. If we talk about a historically rich country like India, here a museum can be an ideal way to get a grip on the functionality of the society and its culture and traditions. India has got some of the most fantastic museums that have the potential to take one back in history and into golden eras of development of art forms or may be into the loathsome war periods. There is so much that these museums in India has to offer and it is a deliberate sin if a history buff like you does not pay visit to one of these significant landmarks. Here are some of the best museums for history lovers seeking to explore more in India:

Hawa Mahal Museum, Jaipur

Hawa Mahal Jaipur

Photo: bit.ly/1MI8J4n

Situaed in the premises of Hawa Mahal, an iconic monument in Jaipur, this museum is built by Maharajah Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799. Having a honeycomb structure, Hawa Mahal is amongst the finest museums in Jaipur city as it treasures a large collection of artefacts that date back to the royal era in Rajasthan. The museum has a Manuscript Gallery that boasts a large collection of manuscripts from the olden days. From letters to the Farmans (Royal order), everyone finds its place here. There is an Armory Gallery that showcases a varirty of words, knives, coins made of gold and silver with the inscriptions of the then Kings.

Visiting Hours: 10:00 AM – 04:30 PM

In And Around the Museum: Lake Palace, Jantar Mantar, Local Markets, Rotating Palace

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National Museum, New Delhi

National Museum, New Delhi

Harappan Civilization Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi, Photo: Mukul Banerjee

Located in Janpath, New Delhi, the National Museum is one of the largest museums in India. The museum has variety of articles ranging right from the pre-historic era to modern works of art. The imposing building of National Museume houses different galleries that encompasses of curious artefacts of Harappan civilization, Maurya, Shunga and Satvahana period, Kushana era and Gupta period. There are also Medieval Arts Gallery, Decorative Arts Gallery, Miniature Paintings Gallery, Buddhist Artefacts Gallery, Evolution of Indian Scripts & Coins Gallery, Bronze Gallery, Manuscripts Gallery, Central Asian Gallery, Maritime Heritage Gallery, Tanjore & Mysore Paintings Gallery, Textiles Gallery, Pre-Columbian & Western Arts Gallery, Tribal Lifestyle of North East India Gallery, Sharan Rani Bakliwal Musical Instruments Gallery, Sharan Rani Bakliwal Musical Instruments Gallery, Wood Carving Gallery, Arms and Armour Gallery and Tradition, Art and Continuity. Apart fromthe galleries, the museum has an auditorium with a seating capacity of 250 people, where a brief film is shown on the importance of the Museum. Collections of the musuem are screened in the Auditorium regularly. Also short films on Art, History and Heritage are also shown in the museum.

Visiting Hours: 10AM to 5PM

Entry Fee: Rs 20 (For Indians), Rs 650 (For Foreign Tourists)

In And Around the Museum: Janpath Market, Connaught Place

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INS Kurusura Submarine Museum, Visakhapatnam

INS Kurusura Submarine Museum, Visakhapatnam

Photo: bit.ly/1LvzEPs

Situated on the beach, INS Kursura the Submarine museum is one of its kinds in India. The museum is the primary repository for artefacts relating to Submarine. INS Kursura was the fourth submarine of the Indian Navy, since it has been converted into a museum it boasts artefacts that are milestones of the evolution of the submarine arm. Photographs and written scripts can be seen neatly placed here in a chronological order. The museum beckons the people to delve deep into the history of the Indian Submarines and urges the youth to be a part of elite arm of the Indian Navy.

Visiting Hours: 2PM to 9PM (Monday Holiday)

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Indian Museum, Kolkata

Indian Museum, Kolkata

Deer Skeleton – Indian Museum Kolkata, Photo: Desmond Lobo

Centrally located in Kolkata, Indian Museum is a large complex replete with surprises and old age documentaries. A castle in appearance, the museum is steeped in history and boasts of an exclusive collection of artefacts. It is divided into six sections – archaeology, anthropology, geology, zoology, industry and art. The collection is so massive that it takes at least 3 days to see the entire Museum.

Visiting Hours: 10AM – 05PM (Monday and Gazetted Holiday Closed)

In And Around the Museum: St. Cathedral Church, Howrah Bridge and the Hanging Bridge

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Karnataka Government Museum

Karnataka Government Museum

Photo: Flickr

Located in the heart of Bangalore, Karnataka is one of the oldest museums in India. Established in 1856, the museum is situated on Kasturba Marg. The museum houses not only artefacts that reflects Karnataka’s culture but also items like sandalwood crafts, Rajasthani embroidery, and antiques from Mohenjodaro and terracotta from Mathura as a collection of the various arts from all over the country. The museum has well-maintained galleries such as Artifacts Gallery, Painting Gallery, Armory Gallery, Sculpture Gallery and Modern Painting Gallery.

Visiting Hours: 9:30AM – 4:30PM

In And Around the Museum: Aihole, Hampi, Bangalore City

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Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharajah Museum

Photo: Manthandiary

Set up in the 20th century, Prince of Wales Museum is amongst the finest museums in India. The museum has been recently renamed as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharajah Museum. The museum has a collection of 200 Miniature Paintings and among the best are the Laur Chandra (1550-1570) and the Mewar Ramayana (1649). There are artifacts ranging from the Indus Valley to the Gupta time period. An Arms Gallery in the museum has a beautiful and attractive collection of the arms of the various eras including the armours of Allaudin Khiljis Khandana and Akbar’s Cuirass. The museum also has a gallery dedicated to Nepal – Tibet religious and artistic sculptures. There are also the statues of Bronze including that of Dancing Balkrishna (Childhood form of Lord Krishna) of Chola Kingdom and textiles from various parts of India like the Bandhani of Rajasthan (19th century).

Visiting Hours: 09:30 AM – 04:30PM (Subject to Change) Timings and Opening Days are subject to vary.

In And Around the Museum: Gateway of India, Kneesseth Eliyahod, Colaba Causeway Market Place

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Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad

Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad

Photo: bit.ly/1KulFHt

One of the important places to see in Hyderabad, Salar Jung Museum is known for an exquisite collection of priceless articles like Ivory and Marble Sculptures. Salar Jung is an art museum with world’s largest collection of artifacts. There are about 40,000 items on display in the museum today. The collection of the museum can be divided into Indian Art, Middle Eastern Art, Far Eastern Art, European Art and Children’s Section. Apart from this, a gallery is devoted to the famous Salar Jung family, which was mainly responsible for acquiring the collection.

Visiting Hours: 10AM to 5PM

In and Aroud the Museum: Charminar, Chowmallah Palace, Mecca Masjid, Golconda Fort, PaigahTombs

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Jaigarh Fort Museum, Jaipur

Jaigarh Fort Jaipur

Photo: Wikipedia

Jaigarh fort is one of the most spectacular forts in Rajasthan. Likewise the museum located in its complex is as spectacular as the fort. The museum offers a good peek in the lifestyle of royals of Rajasthan and their taste in architecture and other art forms. Divided into three neat categories, the museum houses Shubhat Niwas, which is known as the Hall of the Warriors and was used as a place to hold meetings between; Armoury Hall, is the place where Royal Armory like the Sword, the Shields, the cannon balls, guns and muskets are showcased and a Painting Hall, where there are paintings of the Royal family, war scenes and dances and festivities.

Visiting Hours: 9.30AM to 4.30PM

In And Around the Museum: Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar

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Kerala Folklore Theatre & Museum, Kochi

Kerala Folklore Theatre & Museum, Kochi

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Established in 2009, Kerala Folklore Theatre & Museum is one of a kind. The museum is a treasure chest that displays the rich heritage that Kerala has to offer through its numerous art and dance forms. The artefacts like masks, sculptures, in wood, stone and bronze, costumes of traditional and ritual art forms, musical instruments, traditional jewelry, manuscripts of rare medicinal and astrological secrets, and Stone-Age utensils have the fragrance of glorious bygone era. Each item is preserved in this museum with utmost care. The theatre here conducts stage performances every day at 6.30 p.m.

Visting Hours: 9.30AM to 7PM

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State Museum, Agartala

State Museum, Agartala

Photo: Wikipedia

Established in 1970 in Agartala, State Museum Tripura has a fine collection of artefacts that reflects the history of this beautiful state. The museum is divided into four galleries namely the Tribal and Cultural Gallery, Painting Gallery, Photo gallery and Indian Sculpture (all through the ages). The wide collection in the museum include sculptures from Udaipur, Pilak, Jolaibari and other sites of Triprua; Terracotta from Pilak and Amarpur; Bronze Images including miniature Mukhalinga Avalokitesvara, Tara and Vishnu; Coins; Paintings and Tribal Sculptures. State Museum is the mirror of Tripura allows one to understand better about this far off North Eastern state.

Visiting Hours: 10AMto 1PM and 2PM to 5PM (Sunday and Gazetted Holiday Closed)

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Stok Palace Museum, Leh

Stok Palace Leh

Photo: Anoop Madhavan

Probably one of the best museums in India, Stok Palace Museum is surprisingly a small room that is filled with valuable artefacts that give Ladakh its real meaning. The museum is located within the Stok Palace, which is at a distance of 14 km from. It showcases the royal artefacts and paraphernalia including royal crowns, precious heirlooms, copper coins, prayer instruments and materials, precious stones and jewellery and also some 16th century Thangkas that represent the life and teachings of Buddha. Stok Palace Museum is a nice place to witness the Buddhist remains in India and also to come across the Buddhist life style and culture.

Visiting Hours: 9AM to 6PM

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Maharaja Sawai Singh Museum, Jaipur

Maharaja Sawai Singh Museum, Jaipur

Photo: Nancy OReilly

Reckoned to be one of the most well kept museums in Rajasthan, Maharaja Sawai Singh Museum is the pride of Rajasthan. This beautiful and elegant museum has lot to offer to its visitors, the museum is rich in the collection of images of the past. Constructed in 1959, then it was known as Jaipur Museum, this museum depicts bygone era in the most contemporary manner. The highlights of the museum are the Bagghi Khana, Armoury Gallery (Locally known as Sileh Khana), Art Gallery and the Textile Gallery.

Visiting Hours: 10AM to 4PM (Subject to Change).Timings and Opening Days are subject to vary.

In And Around the Museum: Lake Palace and Jaipuri Market

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Calico Museum, Ahmedabad

Calico Museum, Ahmedabad

Photo: bit.ly/1PrtXkI

Situated in one of the most beautifully, intricately wooden-carved Haveli, The Calico Museum of Textiles stands as the most distinguished institutions of its kind. This museum contains one of the world’s finest collections of antique and modern Indian textiles; the items displayed here are handmade and are up to 500 years old.

Visiting Hours: The main textile galleries can only be visited on the morning tour (maximum 20 people), which lasts two hours. The afternoon tour (maximum 10 people) is devoted to the Sarabhai Foundation’s collection of religious art, which explores depictions of Indian deities, including textile galleries.

In And Around the Museum: Gandhi Ashram, Sidi Bashir Mosque and Hathee Singh Jain Temple.

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National Archive Museum, New Delhi

National Archive Museum, New Delhi
The National Archive is under the office of Department of Culture, which is subordinate to ministry of Tourism and Culture. The museum is the depository of the old records of Govt. of India. The documents kept here a reflection of the past in all different facets of the country. The visitors have the opportunity to witness exemplary literary works like Ain-i-Akbari, Bhagwat Gita, Bengal Smoke Nuisance Bill, and Certificate of marriage (Nikahnama of Mirza Usman Beg and Akbar Begam dated 8th March 1886), Dictionary in Eight Languages, Execution Order of Mangal Pandey, Letter of Tipu Sultan and Sanskrit Lotus Sutra Manuscript.

Visiting Hours: 11AM to 5PM

In And Around the Museum: Central Secretariat, Connaught Place, The Presidents House and Rajghat

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We urge you to take a tour of one of few of these museums; your visit will not only help you understand Indian history but shall help you realize its value. Incase, you think that we have missed out on any significant museum in India, please feel free to mention them in the comment box below.

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About

From the Lake District, Nainital, Nidhi Singh is a well traveled writer whose love for nature can be seen in her writings. She loves to trek and enjoy nature and portrait photography. Nidhi has covered most of the valleys along the foaming streams of Jammu & Kashmir and aspire to cover all major trekking routes of Ladakh and Uttarakhand. She also takes keen interest in different cultures and traditions of the world and enjoys collecting mementos. With her flair for writing and personal travelling experiences, she offers vividly descriptive write ups.


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