Our history and culture shape who we are today as a society. It’s important for us to know our past and the past of other extravagant civilizations that have existed in human history. It helps us to get a broader perspective on life.
Museums are one of the best places you can visit to go back in time and explore the well-preserved tokens of our history. India has over 3,000 museums dedicated to preserving the stories and accomplishments of all the great figures who emerged in this land. Most of these remarkable museums are located in Delhi itself!
Naturally, we can’t expect you to be able to visit them all; at least not right away! To save you both time and effort, we’ve curated a list of ten best museums in India that you must make time to visit whenever possible.
These museums portray the story of India (one of the world’s oldest civilizations) and unveil a world full of fascinating stories and mind-boggling facts. Ready to dive in? Let’s start exploring!
Victoria Memorial, Kolkata
Address: Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Timings: Tuesdays to Sundays (10 AM to 6 PM)
The Victoria Memorial was established in 1921 in honor of the memory of Queen Victoria. It’s a beautiful monument made of marble. Inside, you can see extraordinary works of famous architects like William Emerson and Vincent Esch.
The building is a mixture of British and Mughal design with architectural influences of Deccan, Venetian, and Egyptian styles. It houses the single largest collection of the works of Thomas Dane II (landscape painter) and his nephew William Daniell.
The museum has a rare collection of popular folktale books like The Arabian Nights that will take you to the world of fairytales. You’ll also find paintings that showcase the life of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert here.
Albert Hall Museum, Jaipur
Address: Ram Niwas Garden, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
Timings: Open on all days except Monday and Friday (9 AM to 5 PM)
Also known as Government Central Museum, The Albert Hall Museum was opened to the public as a museum in 1887. Although Maharaja Ram Singh of Jaipur wanted it to be a town hall building, his successor, Madho Singh, turned it into a museum later.
Named after King Edward 8th, this museum has a rich collection of ivory, jewelry, paintings, and coins. Moreover, it even has an Egyptian Mummy on display if you’re a fan of Egyptian mythology. Isn’t it fascinating?
Chennai Rail Museum
Address: Perambur, Chennai, Tamilnadu, India.
Timings: Tuesdays to Sundays (10 AM to 5 PM)
The Chennai Rail Museum is known for its extraordinary collection of vintage coaches like Ooty trains and steam engines dating back to British Rule. It was opened in April 2002 and is home to more than a century old trains.
This museum has toy train rides, a Dolby Digital movie theatre showcasing railway heritage films, and a rail coach-themed restaurant, making it a perfect fun trip for your kids.
Baroda Museum & Picture Gallery
Address: Sayaji Baug, Vadodara, India.
Timings: Everyday (10:30 AM to 5 PM)
If you’re ever wondered what the skeleton of a baby blue whale would look like, read on! In the Baroda Museum & Picture Gallery, you can see that, and much more.
Established by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III of the Gaekwad dynasty (Marathas), it houses an impressive collection of original works of famous British painter J.M.W Turner. The collection of Mughal miniatures and a gallery of Tibetan art are also highly praise-worthy.
If you’re going with kids, the museum has a skeleton of a baby blue whale and an Egyptian Mummy that they’ll love.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya
Address: Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort, Mumbai.
Timings: Mondays to Sundays (10:15 AM – 6 PM)
Initially called the “Prince of Wales Museum of Western India,” The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya houses the history of India from pre-historic to modern times.
The museum was founded during British rule in India in memory of the visit of the Prince of Wales. It was later renamed in 1998 after Shivaji (Maratha Empire founder).
You can find displays of remains of the Indus Valley Civilization here. It is also home to artifacts and relics from ancient India dating back to the time of Guptas, Mauryas, Chalukyas, and Rashtrakuta.
If you’re fascinated with Indian history, you will love this place.
Government Museum, Chennai
Address: Government Museum Complex, in the neighborhood of Egmore, Chennai, India.
Time: Saturdays to Thursdays (9:30 AM to 5 PM)
The Government Museum, established in 1851, is the second oldest museum in India. An interesting fact about here is it has the largest collection of Roman artifacts outside Europe.
The museum houses rare paintings of artists like Raja Ravi Varma that are considered national treasures.
It displays Mughal Paintings, including Babur’s court scene and Jahangir’s portraits. It also has 12 portraits of British Governors and Governors-General.
The museum is also known for its rich archaeological and bronze idols collection, which makes it a perfect destination for archaeology enthusiasts.
National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi
Address: Jaipur House, Rajpath, New Delhi.
Timings: Tuesdays to Sundays (11 AM to 6 PM)
The National Gallery of Modern Art Museum was established in 1954 by the Indian government. You can also find its branches in Mumbai and Bangalore.
This museum hosts a collection of more than 700 works, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs by more than 2000 artists. You can find the works of Rabindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, and Thomas Daniell here.
It is one of the largest modern art museums in the world.
Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad
Address: Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad.
Timings: Saturdays to Thursdays (10 AM to 5 PM)
Salar Jung Museum is one of the largest museums in the world, housing a collection size of 1.1 million objects. It also contains a large private art collection of the Salarjung family.
Sarar Jung III spent a large part of his life, a period of 35 years, collecting artifacts from around the globe.
The Veiled Rebecca (a marble sculpture created by the Italian neoclassical sculptor Giovanni Maria Benzoni) is one of the major attractions here. Make sure to give it a visit.
National Museum, New Delhi
Address: Janpath, New Delhi.
Timings: Tuesdays to Sundays (10 AM – 6 PM)
Entry Fees: Adults – 50 INR
Students up to class 12th – Free (with ID Card).
The National Museum was established in 1949, and it’s one of the largest museums in India. It has around two hundred thousand works of art ranging from the pre-historic to the modern era.
Famous holdings of this museum include pieces like The Dancing girl (sculpture), an Ivory carved Dashavatar, and an Ivory carved tusk that includes Buddha life stories.
Indian Museum, Kolkata
Address: 27, Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Park Street, Kolkata.
Timings: Tuesdays to Sundays (10 AM – 5 PM)
Entry Fees: Adults – 50 INR.
Children above 5 years – 20 INR.
The Indian Museum in Kolkata is the 9th oldest museum in the world, established by the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1814.
The museum has very rare collections of historical artifacts that hold international importance. Its holding includes Mughal paintings, skeletons, fossils, coin galleries, armor, and Egyptian mummies.
This is a must-visit if you want to experience the captivating history it houses.
In the end
Museums are essential to our culture, as they preserve and document our progression as humans. They also help us analyze how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go.
In a country like India – which has a wealth of history and culture – museums stand proud as a symbol of our cherished souvenirs that this land has seen, produced, and acquired. If you visit these museums, you’ll have a stirring experience to uncover the life people in the past used to live; their wisdom, their aspirations, and their needs. You never know what life-changing experience you may encounter.
Don’t forget to tell us which museum you’ll visit and why in the comments section below. To find more travel suggestions, head to our Travel & Adventure section!