Last Updated: June 25, 2019 Anil Rana
Gujarat- A perfect amalgamation of culture, tradition, and heritage is a state which can definitely surprise you with its inescapable beauty and historic magnificence. The richness of this vivid state is not just restricted to forts & palaces, sea beaches or ashrams, it extends to numerous museums and galleries that reflect the rich culture of Gujarat and its people. The museums in Gujarat have always proved to be inspiring for tourists who never get enough of the intriguing world of science, art, and archeology. So, if you are still in Gujarat and haven’t fallen in love with its unique & vibrant culture, a tour to some of its best museums can help you know the place better. Here are 15 most popular museums in Gujarat that are better seen than ignored.
Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, Ahmedabad
Photo: Addison Godel
This very place treasures the personal belongings of Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation, and gives an idea about his life with the help of his life-size paintings, books, manuscripts, etc. The prime attraction of this museum remains the spinning wheel and writing desk, where Ganadhiji used to spend most of his time. Located in the capital city Ahemdabad, the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya displays the unforgetable moments from Mahatma Gandhi’s life through pictorial representation. Gandhiji was a great spiritual and political leader, who had a main role in making India an Independent nation.
Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum, Vadodara
Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum is counted among the most popular historical museums in Gujarat, which houses a treasure-trove of royal belongings that dates back to the 19th and 20th century. This impressive museum is located in the Vadodara city, inside the beautiful Lakshmi Vilas Palace, which once belonged to the Gaekwad family of Gujarat. This stunning building is a reflection of Indo-saracenic style of architecture that has still kept the personal belongings of the Gaekwad family. Some of its best collections include European paintings, Indian & Western miniature paintings, Greco-Roman artifacts, Chinese and Japanese artifacts, life portraits of the royal family itself, and many more.
Calico Museum of Textiles, Ahmedabad
This amazing museum houses a beautiful collection of the hand-woven fabrics from across India. It was founded by Gautam Sarabhai and his sister Gira Sarabhai in 1949 to display a fine collection of fabrics used by the Mughal and clothes worn by different rulers of 15th to 19th centuries. The people interested in fabrics, especially the fashion designing enthusiasts, love visiting this bonafide treasure trove to explore the lavish textile heritage of India. Calico museum is one of the most popular and widely visited attractions in Ahemdabad. Some of its finest collection includes holographs on palm leaves, kalpasutra fabric, fine fabrics such as silk weaving, patolas, patalu shawls, scarves, sadi, etc., Mughal attires like helmets, chain mall, & shields, persian carpets used by the great Mughal emperor like Akbar, embroidery collection like Adhai Dvipi Pata, Jnana Baji Pata, Sarada Purnima, Govardhana, Dharana, Gopastami, Ramanavami, etc.
Baroda Museum and Art Gallery, Vadodara
Repository of rich artifacts, ancient manuscripts, Indian sculptures and Mughal miniatures, the Baroda Museum and Art Gallery, is another most popular museums in Gujarat, established in 1887 by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III. Located in the beautiful city Vadodra, this wonderful gallery boasts a rich collection of Akota bronzes of the 5th century AD, Tibetan arts, Egyptians antiquities, and paintings & sculptures of European artists. However, the prime attraction of this museum remains an Egyptian mummy and skeleton of a blue whale. The museum building reflects Indo-Saracenic engineering, personally designed by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad.
World Vintage Car Museum, Ahmedabad
Photo: Rahil Rupawala
The World Vinatge Car Museum is one of the most unique collection of vintage cars, antique vehicles, utility vehicle, motorcycles, and buggies, built by the family of Shri Pranlal Bhogilal from Ahemdabad. It represents a very rare and exclusive collection of marques cars from all over the world, of different types and ages. It has a collection of ceremonial limousines, the romantic convertibles, the magical sports cars, and more. It has in its collection more than hundred finest cars from brands like rolls-Rocyes, Bentleys, Daimlers, Langondas, Mercedeces, Maybach, Packards, Cadillacs, Auburns, Cord, Lancias, Lincolns, etc. and many such makers from US, UK, and Europe.
Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum, Ahmedabad
Photo: Addison Godel
For someone who has a deep interest in ancient Indian sculptures, bronzes, manuscripts, books, and paintings, can visit the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum in Ahemdabad, to explore the rich repository of Indian artifacts. Founded by a Jain Saint Agamprabhakar Muni Shri Punyavijayji Maharaj and a philanthropic industrialist Shri Kasturbhai Lalbhai in 1959, this beautiful museum has around 45,000 printed books, 75,000 manuscripts, and a rare collection of coins. There are different galleries inside the museum with a collection of miniature paintings, artifacts reflecting the rich cultural heritage of India. Anyone who visits Ahemdabad, make it a point to have a quick visit to this museum.
Kite Museum, Ahmedabad
Kite Museum is one of the most unique museums in India with an extraordinary collection of hand-made kite and 400 species of paper used to make the colorful kites. Located in the capital city Ahemdabad, this wonderful museum is counted among the best places to visit in Ahemdabad. Since the city is famous for its kite festival, tourists from different corners of the country visit this amazing place during the festival of kites to enjoy playing kites while exploring the museum. This museum was an initiative of Bhanu Shah, who donated his rare collection of kites to the Ahemdabad Muncipal Corporation, who later built this museum to keep all the kites on display. Some of the rare kites showcased here are 16 feet long kite with depicts of Garba dance, mirror-work kites, block-style kites, Radha-Krishna kites, Japanese kites, etc.
Sardar Patel Museum, Ahmedabad
Sardar Patel Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ahemdabad, with a collection of over 10,000 specimens of arts and craft, reflecting rich Indian tradition and cultural heritage. Established in the 20th century in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, this museum is indeed the best art museums in Gujarat that houses life-size portraits of Sardar Patel, his family and close friends. Also known as Moti Shahi Mahal, this museum is set up inside a historic building, constructed by the Mughal emperor Shahjahan between 1618 and 1622. The museum is completely dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and showcase a biographical description of periods of his lie, his personal belongings, important news about him from the newspaper, his clothes and other possessions like shoes, slippers, Euopean-style clothes, etc.
Vechaar at Vishala – A Utensils Museum
Museums has a great role in perking up tourism in Gujarat, which is one of the best travel destinations in India. Among varieties of museums, Ahemdabad also hosts a very unique and traditional repository of utensils called Vechaar (Vishalla Environmental Centre for Heritage of Art, Architecture, and Research) Utensils Museum. This amazing gallery was built in 1981 by an initiative of Surender C. Patel, who was an architect. His idea was to preserve the rich cultural heritage and rare artistic skills of craftsmen in India. This hut-like museum has a rich collection of utensils made of wood, stainless steel, copper, mud, glass, brass, bronze, zinc, and German silver. The entire museum is prepared in a mud structure to give a traditional appeal to the whole surroundings.
Kutch Museum, Kutch
Your Gujarat tour is incomplete, if you have not been to the Kutch Museum in Bhuj. This picturesque art gallery was established in 1877 by Maharao Sir Khengarji III to display a rich collection of Kshatrapa inscription, dating to the 1st century AD. Originally called Fergusson Museum, the Kutch Museum is the oldest museum in Gujarat with an interesting collection of coins (including Kutch’s local currency ‘Kori’), paintings, arms, musical instruments, sculptures, and metalwork. The museum reflects a rich past of tribals in Gujarat, who are a major part of Kutch’s history. There are different galleries in this museum including a picture gallery, an anthropological section, an archeological section, textiles, weapons, musical instruments, a shipping section, and a stuffed animal section.
Rotary Midtown Dolls Museum, Rajkot
The fabulous collection of dolls in this unique museum will give you an overview of different culture and traditions all across the world. Located in one of the most prominent cities in Gujarat, Rajkot once was the capital of the Princely State of Saurashtra. The famous Rotary Midtown Doll’s Museum is one of the most popular attractions in Rajkot, that showcase different kinds of dolls in different outfits and style, reflecting country’s diverse tradition and culture. There are over 1400 dolls in the museum, each of which has detail about the culture & tradition about their place or origin. Both the adults and children actively visit this museum to explore its rare collection of dolls.
Lakhota Museum, Jamnagar
The Lakhota palace, which now houses Lakhota Museum is a striking remnant of a rich past of India. Located in Jamnagar, this majestic gallery offers a beautiful collection of artifacts that belongs to the 18th and 19th century, India. One can find in display pottery from medieval villages, skeleton of a whale, swords, powder flasks, possessions of Jadeja Rajputs, and other remnants of a rich past of Gujarat. Many tourists visit this museum to enjoy the architectural beauty of the palace, in which the repository is set up. The exotic surroundings of this palace and its majestic ambience are something that shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Darbar Hall Museum, Junagadh
Located in the historic city of Junagadh in Gujarat, this art museum is counted among the top tourist destination in the city, visited by a large number of tourists every day. The Darbar Hall Museum is a reservoir of 19th century Nawabi’s possessions that were found at this place several years before. Among the top collection include palanquins, attires of the Nawabs & their family members, velvet covered cushioned seats, howdah, carpets, weapons, armours, gowns, silver thrones, chandeliers, artifacts, paintings, and other belongings that reflect their lifestyle and culture. The museum is housed in a Darbar, built by the Nawab of Junagarh.
Watson Museum, Rajkot
Named after a British Political Agent Colonel John Watson, the Watson Museum is a splendid repository of 13th century artifacts , handicrafts, pottery, and princely relics that reflect the royal moment in India during the British rule. Nestled amid the beautiful Jubilee Gardens, this majestic gallery houses paintings donated by various royal families, textiles & jewelry depicting Bharwads, Ahirs, Darbars, etc. and some unique & interesting anthology of Indus Valley Civilization. The Watson Museum is taken care by the State Government of Gujarat as it contains some invaluable contents and artifacts. Number of sections in this museum are divided into paintings, manuscripts, textiles, sculptures, coins, anthropology, handicraft, musical instruments, and more.
Ayurvedic Museum, Junagarh
This unique museum is located in an Ayurvedic College at Sadarbag, Junagarh and offer tourists detailed knowledge about various medicinal plants and natural medical treatment. A lot of people, especially students who are doing their Ayurvedic medical studies and doctors, visit this amazing museum to explore the wonder of Ayurveda. The museum also helps people in understanding the ancient medicines and different ways of performing Ayurvedic treatment.
Gujarat is a repository of vivid cultures and tradition and if you are planning to make your holidays in Gujarat knowledgeable and informative, the list of museums above can help you know more than you even imagined.
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Published: 17 Nov, 2015