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Delhi Museums

National Museum
The National Museum is one of the best museums in the country, at Janpath in Delhi. It gives an excellent overview of the cultural development of South Asia. The collection formed from the nucleus of the Exhibition of Indian Art, London which brought together selected works from state museums and privated collections. Now merged with the Asian Antiquities Museum it displays a rich collection of the artistic treasure of Central Asia and India. The museum provides a comprehensive review of

National Museum Delhi

ethnological objects from prehistoric archaeological finds to the late Medieval period. Research is facilitated by a library. Films are screened every day. Replicas of exhibits on display and books on Indian culture and art are on sale at the entrance. The items in the Prehistoric Gallery include seals, figurines, toy animals and jewellery from the Harappan civilization. The items in the Maurya Period gallery include Terracottas and stone heads from the Sunga period, the chaturmukha lingam, a four faced phallic symbol connected with the worship of Siva. The items in the Gandhara School gallery include a series of stucco heads showing the Graeco Roman influence. Gupta terracottas include two life size images of the river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna and the four-armed bust of Vishnu from temple near Lal Kot, south Indian sculpture from Pallava and early Chola temples and relief panels from Mysore, bronzes from the Buddhist monastery. Illustrated manuscripts includes the Babur-i-nama in the emperor’s own handwriting and an autographed copy of Jahangir’s memoirs. Miniature paintings includes the 16th century Jain School, the 18th century Rajasthani School and the Pahari Schools of Garhwal, basoli and Kangra. Aurel Stein Collection consists of antiquities recovered by him during his explorations of Central Asia and the western borders of China at the turn of the century, pre-Columbian and Mayan artifacts. Anthropological Section is devoted to Indian tribal artifacts and folk arts. Sharan Rani Bakkiwal Gallery of Musical instruments displays over 300 instruments collected by the famous sarod player Sharad Rani and donated to the museum in 1980. 

Airforce Museum
Airforce Museum is situated on the Palam Marg. Guns, bullets, uniforms and photographs record the history of the Indian Air Force. There is also an excellent aircraft.

Crafts Museum
Crafts Museum is located at Pragati Maidan. It contains over 20,000 pieces of traditional Indian crafts from all parts of the country. It also contains a rich collection of 18th-20th century objects including terracottas, bronzes, enamel work, wood painting and carving, brocades and jewllery.

Dolls Museum
Dolls Museum is located at Nehru House, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg. It looks like something of a miniature United Nations and started in 1954 by the well known journalist Shankar. Over 6,000 dolls are displayed here. The BC Roy Children’s Library offers a wide selection of books and there is a play corner for those below reading age. Membership is restricted to under 16s. Films are screened for members on 2nd Saturday.

Field Museum

Field Museum is located at Purana Qila, Mathura Rd. The museum displays archaeological finds of excavations at this site, below which lies the legendary city of Indraprashta described in the Mahabharata. Coins from the early Sunga period, red earthenware from the Kushan period, seals and figurines from the Gupta period and stone sculptures are displayed. Later artifacts include coins from the Rajput period, glazed ware and coins from the Sultanate period.

Gandhi Darshan
Gandhi Darshan is located at Raj Ghat. Five pavilions bring together in sculpture, photographs and paintings on the life of Gandhi, the history of the Satyagraha movement, the philosophy of non-violence and the Constructive Programme formulated by Gandhi. A children’s section recreates the history of the freedom movement from 1857 to 1948 when Gandhi was assassinated.

Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya
Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya is located at Raj Ghat. It displays some of Gandhi’s personal belongings like walking stick, spinning wheel, sandals, watch and spectacles. There is a small library and collection of tape recordings of speeches. Films on the Sarvodaya movement and allied subjects are screened on Sundays.


National Gallery of Modern Art
National Gallery of Modern Art is located at Jaipur House. This gallery is housed in the former Delhi residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur. There is an excellent collection of Indian modern art. Some of the best exhibits are on the ground floor which is devoted to post 1930 works. Visitors who would like to view the collections chronologically are advised to begin their tour on the first floor. Some of the collections displayed are of Amrita Shrgil which contains over 100 examples of her work, including one self portrait. Her style was a synthesis of the flat treatment of Indian painting with a realistic tone. There are collections of Rabindranath Tagore, a poet who for a brief but intense spell in the 1930s expressed himself through painting as well as poetry. The collections of the Bombay School includes the paintings of Western painters who documented their visits to India. Formemost among them is the British painter Thomas Daniell. With a style that seems

National Gallery of Modern Art Delhi

to anticipate the camera, the realism characteristic of this school is reflected in Indian painting of the early 19th century represented by the schools of Avadh, Patna, Sikkim and Tanjore. In the Bengal School, artists such as Abanindranath Tagore and Nandalal Bose have their works exhibited here. Western influence was discarded in response to the nationalist movement. Inspiration derived from Indian folk art is evident in the works of Jamini Roy, and in the works of Y.D. Shukla. The Japanese influence can be seen in the use of wash techniques and a miniature style. Some of the works would benefit from better labeling. Postcards, booklets and prints are available at the reception.

Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum is located at FICCI Building, Barakhamba Rd. A small but well assembled introduction to india’s natural heritage. A Discovery Room offers children the opportunity to handle specimens and take part in creative activities such as animal modeling. Daily film show, regular lectures and exhibitions are organized in conjunction with other natural history organizations.

Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
Nehru Memorial Museum and Library is located at Teen Murti Bhavan. The official residence of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was converted after his death (1964) into a national memorial consisting of a museum and research library. The reception, study and bedroom have been preserved as they were. Note his extensive reading and wide interests. A Jyoti Jawahar, kept burning day and night in the garden, is a symbol of the eternal values he inspired, and a granite rock is carved with extracts from his historic speech at midnight of 14-15 August 1947. Library resources include unpublished records, private correspondence and micro-film facilities. Films are screened in the auditorium and a son et Lumiere is held after sunset.

Philatelic Museum
Philatelic Museum is located at Dak Tar Bhavan, Parliament. Entry passes are available from the basement of the Parliament St Head Post Office. Extensive stamp collection including the first stamp issued in India by the Sindh Dak (1854) and stamps issued before independence by the ruler of the Princely States. A record is maintained of contemporary stamps issued by the Government.

Pragati Maidan
Pragati Maidan is located at Mathura Rd. It is a sprawling exhibition ground containing a restaurant, children’s park, shopping centre and cinema theatres where Indian and foreign films are screened daily. The 5 permanent exhibitions include The Nehru Pavilion displaying a small but comprehensive exhibition on Jawaharlal Nehru, easier to take in than the Nehru Memorial Museum. The Son of India Pavilion features the life of Sanjay Gandhi and the Atomic Energy and Defene Pavilions demonstrate through models, photographs and statistics the country’s technological and industrial achievements. The 7 acre Village Complex recreates a village scene with about 10 kinds of rural dwellings. Musical instruments, deities, folk arts and crafts and items of everyday use are displayed inside.


Rabindra Bhavan
Rabindra Bhavan is located at Copernicus Marg. The Rabindra Bhavan houses the national academies of literature (Sahitya Akademi), fine arts and sculpture (Lalit Kala Akademi) and the performing arts (Sangeet Natak Akademi) in separate wings. This bhavan was founded in 1954 at the the inspiration of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. All have libraries and display galleries which also have post cards and reproductions on sale.

Rail Transport Museum
Rail Transport Museum is located at Chanakyapuri. The museum preserves a memorable account of 125 years of the history of Indian Railways. The collection includes 26 vintage locomotives, 17 carriages and saloons including the 4-wheels saloon used by the Prince of Wales (Edward VII) in 1876 and the Maharaja of Mysore’s saloon made of seasoned teak and laced with gold and ivory. The open display recreates a yard and facilitates the movement of stock.

Red Fort Museum
Red Fort Museum is located at Mumtaz Mahal, Lal Qila. On display are the swords, hookahs, chess sets, armory, carpets etc of the Mughal emperors from Babur to Bahadurshah Zafar. Miniatures depict life at the court, maps and monuments of Delhi and portraits.


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