- Location : Janpath, New Delhi
- Timings : 10.00 am To 5.00 pm, Tuesday to Sunday (Closed on Mondays)
National museum is Delhi’s largest museum and provides vast storehouse of information of India’s history and culture. Packed with exhibits ranging over five thousand years, one must be prepared to spend several hours here.
The National Museum has an amazing collection of Indian art and sculpture, which dates back from the prehistoric times and the priceless collection is spread over the three floors of the museum.
The ground floor has several galleries, each dedicated to a particular period in history. These galleries display rare pieces from the Paleolithic Age to the Mughal period. The most famous sculpture on this floor could be the Dancing Girl from Mohenjodaro, 2,500 BC. The Mughal period is depicted and displayed in vivid details in the paintings and Arabian manuscripts. Of special interest is the superb Central Asian Gallery that exhibits the silk banners, sculpture and wall paintings that form part of Sir Aurel Stein’s collection, brought to India in the early part of the 20th century.
A new gallery has been added to the ground floor, which is the Jewellery section. The first floor contains a varied collection of Indian miniature paintings from different schools, Mughal, Rajasthani and Pahari. Also catch a glimpse of simple stone neolithic Tools (3,000-1,500 BC) and shell and bone jewellery excavated from the sites of Mohenjodaro and Harappa belonging to India’s earliest civilization- the Indus Valley (2,500 BC).
Carved pillars and statues of the Mauryan dynasty can also be seen over here. Bronzes from South India, an impressive collection of stone sculpture, miniature paintings, textiles, coins and tribal art from part of its extensive collection.
The next floor is perhaps the best one, with a terrific display of weapons and costumes of the historical periods. There is a sales counter and library on the ground floor Another section of the gallery has a display of over 300 musical instruments.
There are film shows on the art heritage of India on weekdays at 2:30 pm, on Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 am, 2:30 pm and 4:00 pm.
Crafts Museum (National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum)
- Location : Bhairon Road, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi
- Timings : July to September: 9.30 am to 5.00 pm October to June: 9.30 am to 6.00 pm ( Closed on Mondays and national holidays)
The Crafts Museum complex is a charming oasis in the midst of the hustle and bustle of this city. Mud huts with painted walls and thatched roofs, courtyards, terracotta horses recreating village shrines, craftsmen at work are some of the elements that add to the rural ambience of the place. Within the museum itself are examples of traditional Indian crafts, wooden carvings and images, metalware, especially ewe perdue objects from Bastar, West Bengal and Bihar, clay and terracotta pots, toys and images, folk and tribal paintings, jewellery and textiles. Some of the most outstanding exhibits are the life size wooden buta figures which were discovered in an abandoned rural shrine in Karnataka.
Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum
- Location : Safdarjung Road, New Delhi
- Timings : 9.30 am to 5.00 pm
The Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum was the residence of the former Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. It was in this house that she was assassinated by her own Sikh bodyguards on 31st October 1984. The house was converted into a museum after her assassination.
The museum conserves some of the belongings of Indira Gandhi, including the sari she was wearing when she was assassinated. There is a collection of photographs, which record the Nationalist movement and the Nehru-Gandhi family.
A modest bungalow, it is furnished simply and hung with photographs narrating her life from childhood days with the Mahatma to later off-duty relaxation with her grandchildren Rahul, Priyanka and Varun. It is surrounded by a charming garden where you can hear Mrs Gandhi’s speeches from megaphones hidden in the bushes. It was in this garden that she was assassinated.
The spot where Indira Gandhi was assassinated is enclosed in a glass frame. One can still see the dried blood spots.
Shankar’s International Doll Museum
- Location : Nehru House, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi
- Timings : 10.00 am to 6.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)
The famous cartoonist Shankar started this museum in 1954, as a personal collection. Located on the Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, in the Nehru House, this museum displays about 6000 dolls from 85 countries. The International Dolls Museum is exactly what its name implies; it is a museum devoted to a display of dolls from all over India and abroad. Dolls of Japan deserve special mention. However, 1/3 of total dolls are Indian – Indian cultural and the cultural life style has been projected in the fashions of dolls. On view are dolls dressed in national costumes, each exquisitely grafted and embellished. There are indigenous rural dolls made by local craftsmen, sophisticated dolls machine made at factories, in fact a magical collection that delights children as well as enthrall the adult.
National Museums of Natural History
- Location : FICCI Building, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi
- Timings : 10.00 am to 5.00 pm (Closed on Saturday)
The National Museum of Natural History is a small but well-assembled introduction to India’s natural heritage and excellent for initiating children into the study of flora and fauna. A Discovery Room offers children the opportunity to handle specimens and take part in creative activities such as animal modelling.
The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) is a subordinate office of the Ministry of Environment & Forests, whose basic function is to promote environmental education and create environmental and conservation awareness among the people through various inhouse and outreach activities.
The Museum has various exhibit galleries, a Bio-Science Computer Room, an Activity Room and a Mobile Museum, which are used for promoting environmental awareness among different target groups.
A daily film show is held over here between 11.30am-3.30pm. Regular lectures and exhibitions are also organized in conjunction with other natural history organizations.
National Science Centre Museum
- Location : Near Pragati Maidan, New Delhi
- Timings : 9am To Noon, 2pm To 5pm (Closed on Monday)
The National Science center is located near Pragati Maidan. This center is famous for the models which can be operated by the visitor himself. Children are particularly fascinated by the mysteries of science. Open through out the week except on Mondays.
National Science Centre is a constituent of the National Council of Science Museum (NCSM), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. The NCSM has 28 centres spread all across the country. The National Science Centre in Delhi is known as one of the largest science centres among the chain of science centres round the country. The main aim of the Centre is to make science interesting and exciting for students of all I.Q. levels.
National Gallery of Modern Art
- Location : Jaipur House, Near India Gate, New Delhi
- Timings : 10.00 am To 5.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)
Located very close to India Gate, this building was earlier the residential palace of the Maharaja of Jaipur. It exhibits around 4,000 paintings, graphics, and sculptures of modern artists. The gallery arranges special exhibitions for those who wish to exhibit their works. The National Gallery of Modern Art was inaugurated on March 29, 1954 at Jaipur House. It is the only institution of it’s kind in India, run and administered by the Government of India. It represents the evolution of the changing art forms through the passage of more than a hundred years starting from about 1857. In The stately Jaipur House (location for the National Gallery of Modern Art) are on display paintings, sculpture and graphic art dating from the mid 19th century to the present day. The school is represented by Abanindranath Tagore, especially his Advent of the Rainy Season, Twilight and Landscape: Nandalal Bose, Ramkumar Kinkar, Rabindranash Tagore, Binod Behari Mukherjee among others. The foremost responsibility of the National Gallery of Modern Art is to ensure quality and set and maintain a standard of excellence that pervades all it’s activities. Despite numerous handicaps modern Indian artists have made impressive progress, especially in the last two decades.
The collection also includes sculpture, graphics and paintings by international modern artists such as Jacob Epstein, Giorgio de Chirico, Peter Lubarda and Kozo Mio. On view also is Amrita Shergill’s Self Portrait, Two women, Musicians, Bathers and Jamini Roy’s Krishna and Balarama, Kirian, Yasoda and Krishna. Works by major contemporary artists like M F Husain, Vivan Sundaram, J Swaminathan, Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh and Bhupen Khakhar are also on display.
- Location : Teen Murti House, New Delhi
- Timings : 10.00 am To 5.00 pm (Closed on Mondays and government holidays)
This museum was once the residence of the first Indian Prime Minister, but it was then called as Teen Murti Bhavan. It displays the photographs and newspaper clippings, which give a fascinating insight into the history of the independence movement. Teen Murti, the sprawling prime ministerial residence of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, was converted into a museum after his death. The museum consequently revolves around the life and works of Nehru, especially those objects pertaining to the freedom struggle. The colonial building is equally interesting, with its teak paneled rooms with high ceilings, spacious verandas and well kept gardens. Nehru Museum was once used to be the official residence of the Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in India before independence. Nehru lived here for 16 years until his death. Soon after his death the Government of India decided that Teen Murti House should be dedicated to his memory housing a museum and a library.
The museum has been primarily developed as a personal museum, with such rooms as the bedroom, the drawing-room and the study room. The museum portrays through visual media the life and works of the leader of India’s struggle for freedom, the architect of modern India, and definitely a passionate champion of world peace. Apart from highlighting his achievements, the visual display describes Nehru’s Kashmiri lineage, years at Harrow and Cambridge, his budding career as a barrister and his activities as a young radical who entered nationalist politics in 1917 by participating in the Home Rule Movement. A display of popular interest is the Gifts Gallery, which has some of the priceless gifts received by Nehru during his travels in India and overseas. Among the exhibits is the Bharat Ratna medal awarded to him in 1955. An object of great interest to visitors is the Jawahar Jyoti, the eternal flame, symbolizing the ideals for which Jawaharlal lived and worked during his lifetime. It is kept burning day and night. A massive granite rock put up in the front lawn is inscribed with short extracts from the historic tryst with destiny speech delivered by Nehru in the midnight session of the Indian Constituent Assembly on August 14th -15th, 1947.
- Location : Archaeological Museum Red Fort, New Delhi
- Timings : 9.00 am To 5.00 pm (Open on all days)
Situated in the historic Red Fort, the museum exhibits objects of the Mughal period such as manuscripts and firmans, that demonstrate the ine art of calligraphy, paintings, textiles and costumes.
One section concentrates on relics of the 1857 war (First War of Independence) like maps and weapons.