National Museum in DelhiNational Museum Delhi is located at Janpath and is one of India's finest and amazing reflection of Indian artistic tradition, which dates back from the prehistoric times to the late medieval periods. The priceless collection is spread over the three floors of the museum.
Thousands of artifacts displayed in galleries of the National Museum covers more than five thousand years of Indian and World history. The National Museum was earlier established in the premises of Rashtrapati Bhawan and was inaugurated by the Governor-General, Shri R.C Rajagopalachari on August 15, 1949. Later on 12th May, 1955, the museum was shifted to its current location under the guidance of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. On December 18, 1960 the museum was officially opened to public and now is under the administrative control of Ministry of Culture, Government of India. National Museum Institute History of Art, Conservation and Museology was setup in 1983 and it trains people to preserve the rich cultural heritage of India.
Collections at National MuseumGround Floor:
- Harappan civilization
- Gupta art
- Maurya, Shunga and Satvahana art
- Kushan art
- Terracotta art
- Medieval art
- Late Medival art
- Decorative arts
- Buddhist arts
- Transparencies of Indian scripts and coins
- Indian miniature paintings
- Ajanta paintings
- Central Asian art
- Mysore paintings
- Stone Neolithic tools
- Tanjore paintings
- Indian textiles
- Arms and Armour
- Pre Colombian and western art
- Wood carving
- Tribal lifestyle of North Eastern India
- Musical instruments
- Costumes of various historical periods
Popular Artifacts in National Museum
- Miniature clay sculptures of bull, ant eater, pig and monkey of the Harappan civilization.
- Bronze, Silver objects of the Indus Valley Civilization/Chalcolithic period, of which the most famous one is the dancing girl (estimated to be about 5000 years old). Two elegant pieces - elephant on wheels & a cattle cart display the precision and talent of the Harappan metalworkers.
- The figures of Lord Buddha in black-grey display the unique Gandharan Style.
- Asokadhana hailing from Mathura, depicts a panel with a woman holding a branch of the Ashoka tree.
- A lot of sculptures, stone Hindu temples, decorative Budhhist figures were built during the Gupta period (3rd to 6th century), also termed as the Golden period of the Indian history. Figures of Ganga & Yamuna made out of a single brick panel of Surpanakha being punished by Lakshmana are narrative in composition.
- Most of the Hindu & Buddhist sculptures are made by use of a "cire perdue/ lost wax process".
- Early manuscript art and designing are displayed gracefully by the splendid paintings, calligraphic artifacts, illustrations of texts. A noteworthy collection is of the Holy Quran in Arabic, several Islamic works like Baburnama.
- The Mughal period is depicted and displayed in vivid details in the paintings and Arabian manuscripts like the Akbar Hunting, The meetings of Sufis, Raja Sansar Chand of Kangra, Emperor Jahangir holding a picture of Madonna.
- Paintings of the Basohli region, display a riot of colors. An undisputed favorite among these is the Krishna making love to Gopies.
- Apart from love, other emotions,reflecting nature and human life are displayed through the paintings of Raga Megha, Raga Megha Malhar.
- Of special interest is the superb Central Asian Gallery that exhibits hand painted silk banners, sculpture and wall paintings in leather, grass, fiber, that form part of Sir Aurel Stein's collection, brought to India in the early part of the 20th century.
- The decorative arts section houses a large collection of ivory work, Bidri work, tribal art.
- The huge Temple Chariot at the entrance dates back to 18th century, made up of sagvan wood and saal, this 2200 kilograms has been dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
- Around 125 different, captivating musical instruments of 17th-19th century are on display, including santur, sitar, veena, etc.
- Choicest of cotton, woolen textiles, tie and die weaving, delicate embroideries, exquisite shawls, in the Textiles section display the glorious Indian weaving techniques.
Major Attractions for Visitors
- The museum displays objects from their reserve collections, every month at the entrance of the museum, covering various departments. This object is known as the "Object of the Month".
- The National Museum Library houses books, journals of distinctive themes including arts, painting, history, philosophy, culture, etc. The Library is open for use by scholars, researchers, students, teachers.
Open: Monday – Saturday (except second Saturday and gazetted holidays)
Timings: 10.00am to 5.00pm
Contact : (011) 23017721, 011-23019272 (Ext. 238 or 235)
- The Exhibition Cell of the museum undertakes organization of various exhibitions in India as well abroad. These exhibitions, based on various themes have become quite popular among people.
- Informational film shows are arranged in the Auditorium everyday.
- The museum organizes a free guided tour called Path Pradarshak, of 90 minutes on all working days of the museum. This tour sheds light on the highlights of the museum and has 23 stoppage points. The tour starts at 10:30am and 02:30pm on Tuesdays to Fridays. On Saturdays and Sundays, four rounds are conducted at 10:30am, 11:00am, 02:30pm, 03:30pm. The tours are provided in English and Hindi.
- The museum produces a number of monologues, art books, postcards, monographs, plaster card models of sculptures, gallery sheets, guide books, etc. These are available at the museum's sale counter and are very popular items as "souvenirs". These can also be purchased at Publications Division Office, New Delhi.
Quick Facts/ Guide:National Museum Gate
Location : Janpath, New Delhi
Timing: 10:00am to 5:00 pm.
Closed: Monday and Gazetted holidays
Contact : (011) 23792775
Rs. 10 per head for Indian citizens without audio tour .
Rs. 300 per head for others including audio tour
Rs. 1 per head for students( Identity cards are required)
Audio Tours of approximately 75 minutes with 54 stop points are available in five languages: Hindi, English, German, French and Japanese. The audio tour covers the introduction and description of the masterpieces kept in the museum.
Family packages are also available for the tourists taking the audio tours:
Hindi: Rs. 100
English, German, French Japanese: Rs. 150
Family Pack (For 4 persons)
Hindi: Rs. 200
Camera Charges: (still camera only – video and mobile cameras are not allowed)
Rs. 20 per head for Indian citizens.
Rs. 300 per head for others.
How to Reach National Museum
Metro Route: Nearest metro stations are Central Secretariat and Udyog Bhawan on Yellow Line of Delhi Metro.
National Museum Bus Stop: 526, 521, 615, 522 ,531, 505, 580, HoHo Bus
Nirman Bhawan Bus Stop: 181, 580, 047, 490, 156, 970, 346, 435, 456, 408, 410, 440, 443, 470, 430, 481, 530, 459, 973 and 984
- Video and mobile cameras are not allowed inside the museum. Usage of tripods is allowed only after prior permission.
- Storage facility for bags and luggage is available in the Museum’s cloak room located near the entrance gate.
- Museum canteen is available for the visitors and offers snacks, breakfast and lunch. The timings of the canteen are 10:00 Am to 1:30 PM and 2:30 PM to 4:45 PM daily.
- Eating and drinking is not allowed inside the museum except the canteen. Smoking is strictly prohibited inside the Museum premises.