"Art from the past," this one slang best describes the museums of Madhya Pradesh. Madhya Pradesh is one such state in India that is archeologically, historically and culturally rich. The heart of India, Madhya Pradesh was the favourite destination of the dictators and that is why, the state has a rich legacy that is very well carried out by the state tourism. These museums speak about the stories of bravery and loyalty of kings and queens.
The museum of the Madhya Pradesh is a throwback to the golden era of Mauryas, Gupta, Mughals, Marathas and Britons. There are many museums in Madhya Pradesh that has lots of unheard truth of bygone era in its folds. Given below is the list of incredible museums that must be experienced to see the best of the past.
1. The Sanchi Museum
Dating back to 1919, the Sanchi Museum was the innovation of Sir John Marshall when he was the director of Archeological Survey of India. The museum houses the sculptures, paintings and artefacts that have brought from Sanchi and its neighbourhood places- Gulgaon, Vidisha, Murelkhurd and Gyaraspur.
At present, there are four galleries in the museum, each housing artefacts starting from 3rd Century BC to the medieval period. In fact the famous Lion Capital of Ashoka, a popular sculpture that becomes the emblem of India is also a part of the museum.
Objects aesthetically displayed inside the museum belongs to the six different cultures- Maurya, Sunga, Satvahana, Kushana, Gupta and post-Gupta period. Yakshi statue and Buddha carved of red stone is the noteworthy thing to see here.
Address: Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh 464661
Timings: 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Special Attractions: 3rd, 2nd and 1st century B.C stone structure, Lion Capital of Ashoka
2. Archaeological Museum, Chanderi
Chanderi, a small town in Madhya Pradesh has witnessed the best of the medieval period. The tinsel town has many gigantic forts in its kitty that are an integral part of the Madhya Pradesh history. To preserve the ruins of the history, Chanderi Museum was furnished in the year 1999. Sculptures from the ruined temples of Budhi Chanderi dating back to 10th and 11th century are some of the renowned things that are found here.
Address: SH 10, Chanderi, Madhya Pradesh-473446
Special Attractions: Sculptures of 10th &12th century BC, Sculptures from the ruins of the temple
3. Asi Museum, Khajuraho
Archaeological Museum of Khajuraho is an open-air gallery that exhibits archives and collection of sculptures from around Khajuraho. The museum was built by a British officer Mr. W.A. Jardine with a purpose to reserve the preserves of the Khajuraho. It boats of sweeping galleries and several marvellous ceiling frescos. Housed in a large temple complex, the structure of the museum its self is very classy. Earlier, the museum was famous by the name of Jardine Museum. However in 1952, the name was changed to Archaeological Museum.
The archeological museum has 3200 sculptures and is split up into four galleries-Vaishnava', 'Shaivite', 'Jaina' and 'Miscellaneous. The formidable art collection is on display here and includes work of Brahmanical, Buddhist and Jain faith. Here, one will also find four legged statues of Shiva, sculpture of Vishnu preaching silence and Yamuna doorjambs. The museum is situated nearby the Western Group, has the finest collection of sculptures found in the area.
Address: Archaeological Museum, Archaeological Survey of India, Khajuraho- 471606, District -Chattarpur(MP)
Timings: 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Special Attractions: Statues, Panels, Antiquities, Friezes showing the making of Khujraho temple
4. Asi Museum, Mandu
On a fascinating trip to the ruins of Mandu, don't forget to visit the ASI Museum. Hindu sculptures of the 11th century and a gigantic statue of JainaTirthankar are the USP of the museum. 10 % of the exhibits that are displayed in the ASI Museum are devoted to Islamic calligraphy.
Address: Jahaj Mahal Internal Road, Mandu, Mandav, Madhya Pradesh 454010
Special Attractions: Islamic calligraphy
5. Central Museum, Indore
No trip to Indore is complete without experiencing the Central Museum. A short walk away from the post office, Central Museum showcases the best of Parmar sculptures. The structure of the Central Museum is unique, even its garden are full of the antique statue. At the museum entrance, tourists will see the state of Lored Vishnu and TirthankarAdinath.
The museum has a rare collection of sculptures from Hinglajgarh. Also, the museum has a collection of coins, intricate ornaments, and proportionate sculptures. Figures from medieval and pre-medieval period belonging to Hindu and Jain faith also makes an impression amongst the history buffs. There are two galleries in the museum- stone tools, ornament and domestic use item in the first gallery and mythological carving in the other. The museum remains open for the public between 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM, on all the day except Monday.
Address: Near GPO Square, Navlakha, Indore, Madhya Pradesh 452001
Timings: 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Special Attractions: Artefacts from prehistoric period ranging from 5,000 - 4,000B, Parmar sculptures, stone tools, quartz sickles, ornaments and items of domestic use
6. H.H Maharaja Sir Jiwaji Rao Scindia Museum, Gwalior
Welcome to the world of Scindia's, once the rulers, of India's finest state-Madhya Pradesh. Once the tourists will enter the palace, they will start feeling like a king of the bygone era. There are sweeping staircases, gigantic paintings, dining rooms, crystal fountains and the best amongst the exhibits is the huge chandeliers, weighing three and a half ton to brighten up the evening. H.H Maharaja Sir Jiwaji Rao Scindia Museum will take its visitors to a different world, where they can see how the rulers of the bygone era use to stay. The museum is a part of Jai Vilas, the official residence of former Scindia rulers, part of the palace has turned into a museum. One of the greatest museums in India with an unparalleled collection of art masterpieces, a day visit to the museum is worth a visit.
The structure of the museum is very impressive and lures visitors in huge numbers. The formidable oil paintings collection made by Raja Ravi Verma is on display in the museum. Here one can see arms, ornaments, bronze sculptures, ivory bursts, Chinese pots, to name a few. Interiors of the museums are equally impressive; there is mirror work on the walls and frescos on the ceilings. There is also a cafe, library and shop from where tourists can purchase unique souvenirs.
For all those people who thirst for Indian history, H.H Maharaja Sir Jiwaji Rao Scindia Museum is worth a visit.
Timings: 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Address: Jaivilas Palace, Lashkar, Gwalior - 474009, M.P. (India)
Closed: Monday and all Public Holidays
Special Attractions: Largest Pair of Chandeliers in the World, Silver Carriage, Cannon-'Victory of Army', Chinese pot
7. Maharaja Chhatrasal Museum, Dhubela
Sixteen km away from Chhatarpur, nestles the Maharaja Chhatrasal Museum, popularly known as the Dhubela Museum. The museum is the storehouse of copper plates, display inscriptions, lingas and images of Gupta and Kalachuri period. There is a wide variety of Shakti cult sculptures and collection of Jaina images as well. Garments, weapons and paintings of Bundela kings are the star attraction of the museum. In and around, there are around eight galleries in the museum. Besides there are theme based paintings, prominent work related to the emperors of Rewa, Panna and Charkhari. Inside the museum, there is an Amusement gallery that has eight huge convex-concave mirrors that entertain tourist by their funny images.
Address: Chhatrasal Museum Road, Mausahaniya, 471201, Madhya Pradesh
Timings: 10:00 AM – 05:00 PM
Special Attractions: Copper Plates, Sati Pillars, Lingas and Inscribed Images Of The Gupta And Kalachuri Period
8. Rani Durgavati Museum, Jabalpur
Rani Durgawati Museum is a renowned gallery that is nestled in the tiny town, Jabalpur. The museum was created in the memory of Queen Durgavati and is the storehouse of sculptures, inscriptions and prehistoric relics belonging to the 10th century. Besides, there is the gallery that depicts the Adivasi culture. Additional, one can see the original pictures of renowned freedom fighters - Jawaharlal Nehru, M. K. Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu, Subhash Chand Bose to name a few. The gallery offers an amazing platform for people who want to peek in the tribal culture. The Rani Durgawati Museum depicts about the day-to-day lifestyle of the tribal people.
Address: Napier Town, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh
Timings: 9:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Closed: Mondays & Government holidays
Special Attractions: 10th century sculptures, inscriptions and prehistoric relics
9. State Museum, Bhopal
Bhopal has its fair share of interesting and unusual architecture, including the jaw-dropping State Museum. Visit the museum and one will see some astonishing things that reflect the cultural heritage and legacy of Madhya Pradesh. Earlier, the gallery was christened as the 'Bhopal Museum.' Later gallery building was relocated to the Shyamla Hills, and its name was advance to State Museum.
There are seventeen galleries in the museum, housing historical artefacts like the royal collection, fossils, prehistoric articles, sculptures, documentary, and textiles of Madhya Pradesh. The museum is the flashback to the history of Madhya Pradesh. Other things to see in the museum are weapons, instruments, and miniatures. Irrespective, tourists is a history buff or not, one just can't afford to miss out on the state museum when visiting Bhopal.
Timings: 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Address: Shamla Hills, TT Nagar, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh 462002
Special Attractions: Pre-Historic Articles, Fossils, Royal Collection, Sculptures, Paintings, Buddhist Bagh Cave paintings, 84 rare Jaina bronzes of the 8th to 11th centuries, Avalokesteshwaras of Lamaism, Saivite sculptures
10. The Baghela Museum, Rewa
If tourists wish to see the life of the royals and their belongings then do visit the Baghel Museum, a part of the Bandhavgarh Fort. Here on display are the personal belongings of Rewa rulers, ancient hunting equipment and the best amongst them is the soft toy of the white tiger, Mohan.
Baghel Museum is a stone throw away from the national park, mostly visited by the visitors who want to know further about the jungle life of Bandhavgarh. The unique fact about the museum is that it reflects the characteristics of the Rewa ruler rather than telling about their lavish lifestyle. There are four galleries in the museum-Arms gallery exhibits old and new guns. The second gallery is the Mohan Gallery that tell all about the white tiger Mohan. Classiest and best amongst all these galleries is the third one that displays the rare collection of paintings of Maharaja Raghuraj Singhji, Maharaja Gulab Singhji & Late H.H. Martand Singhji. Last one is the stone gallery that has sculptures left by the Kalchuri Kings.
Timings: 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Address: Bandhavgarh hill, Bandhavgarh, Madhya Pradesh, India
Special Attractions: Hunting Equipments, Statues, Old and new kind of guns, sculptures
11. The Lalbagh Palace, Indore
Right from its building to its pathways to its sculpture to its gates, everything about Lal Bagh Palace is classic, reminds one about the colonial era. Lal Bagh Palace building is one the finest example of Holkar dynasty. Much of the ornaments and furniture of the palace is restored and converted into a museum. The gates of the museum look the replica of gates of Buckingham Palace. These gates carry the emblem of Holkar state, which states 'He who tries will succeed'. Architecture, exhibits, each and everything that is there in the museum is dominated by European style, with baroque and rococo dining rooms.
Spread over an area of 11, 3311.98 square meters, the museum welcomes every tourist with a marvellous statue of Queen Victoria. Interior and the exteriors of the museum looks like the Versailles Palace. Ceilings of the museum are enhanced with marble columns, chandeliers, flying nymph and the walls are decorated with Belgium stained glass windows. USP of the museum is its finely crafted interiors. Greek mythological reliefs, Italian-style wall paintings, stuffed leopards and tigers give the visitor a breathtaking experience.
Timings: 11:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Address: Nai Duniya, Indore, Madhya Pradesh - 452007
Closed: Monday Closed
Special Attractions: collection of coins, marble display, prehistoric art, Indian and Italian style of paintings
12. The Sarod Museum, Gwalior
Quotes said by Amjad Ali Khan describes museum the best -"In this building, wherever you look, there is Rhythm and Sound…" A novelty in its own right, the Sarod Museum is housed in the ancestral home of Amjad Ali Khan. Sounds of music ooze in every length and breadth of the museum. Here one can see how the folk music of India has evolved over many years. The Sarod Ghar is being managed by the Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Memorial Trust which was founded by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan with financial assistance from the government. If ever liked the tunes of Sarod, then this museum is a must visit. Sarod House is the place where four generation of Sarod singers were born.
The first instrument that tourists will notice when they will enter the museum is the instruments belonging to the forefathers of Amjad Ali Khan. Renowned instrumentalist from all over the world has contributed their favourite instruments. Here on display are the instruments, musical notes, recordings, pictures and awards.
Address: Shekh Ki Bagiya, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh 474010
Special Attractions: Impressive collection of instrumental music, Tanpura of Krishnarao Shankar Pandit, Violin of Allauddin Khan, the Tabla of Ahmed Jaan Thirakwa, Kanthe Maharaj and Kader Bux.
13. The Vidisha District Museum, Vidisha
The Vidisha District Museum is an open air gallery in Madhya Pradesh that houses some of the finest effigies, statues and sculptures of the 9th and 10th century. Here on display are sculptures of Bhairavnath the Hunter with his dog, a panel of Tirthankers to name a few. Once the tourists enter the museum, they will notice towering statues of Yaksha and Kubera. There are multiple structures from Vidisha region as well. Paying a visit to the Vidisha District Museum will give a glimpse of rich culture and history of Madhya Pradesh.
Address: Sagar-Vidisha Road, Vidisha, India
Special Attractions: Sculptures, paintings, miniatures
14. Tribal And Folk Art Museum, Khajuraho
Tucked away in the corner of Khajuraho, the tribal and folk art museum is an undiscovered gem that houses one of the most distinguished collections of tribal work, folk art and other forms that are unknown. The museum gives a taste of the tribal culture of Madhya Pradesh. The interiors of the museum are classy, unique and sophisticated. In the lobby, one can see the pottery birds and walls dotted with figure designs. The museum boasts of artefact collection from all across the Madhya Pradesh. What catches visitors' eyes the most are the Terracotta 2D horses and elephants. Many sculptures mask. Terracotta images, statues and paintings have made their way to the museum. Within the vicinity of the museum, there is a souvenir shop from where tourists can purchase an exquisite variety of products.
Timings: 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Address: Link Rd No 1, Chandela Cultural Complex, Khajuraho, Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh, 471606, India
Special Attractions: paintings, statues, bamboo items, metal craft and woodwork
15. Tribal Habitat Museum, Bhopal
Located in Bhopal, Tribal Habitat Museum exhibits everything about the culture. Right from how they dress to how they stay, everything about the tribal culture is displayed in the museum. The museum houses a collection of a different tribe and their lifestyle pattern. The museum is also known as the 'Museum of Man'. The museum remains open all day except for Monday, 10 am to 6 pm.
Timings: 10:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Address: Shymala Hills, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh 462002
Mentioned above are some of the amazing museums that every tour must experience on a trip to Madhya Pradesh. One just can't afford to miss these museums as a part of things to do in Madhya Pradesh.