India: 5 Museums You Must Visit

India: 5 Museums You Must Visit

Revisit the country's rich past at these top museums around the country

Uttara Gangopadhyay
December 02 , 2017
07 Min Read

Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum, New Delhi


Who wouldn’t love to take a peek into the residence of the First Citizen of India? Now, with the opening of the Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum, you not only get a close look at the life and times of the various presidents of India but also enjoy insights into different periods of Indian history. Original displays, virtual projections, animated flip books, multi touch digital surface, illuminations, etc. bring to life various aspects of history.

Known as the Rashtrapati Bhavan today, the magnificent residence of the President of India, was conceptualised by Sir Edwin Lutyens as the Viceroy’s House and completed in 1929. The 330 acre estate consists of an H-shaped building containing 340 rooms spread over four floors, 2.5 kilometres of corridors and 190 acres of garden area.

The museum complex has been set up across the Clock Tower, and the redesigned Garages and Stables. Spread over three floors, the Garages showcase past as well as current Presidencies of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the regal ceremonies, rich flora and fauna, etc. Each enclave of the erstwhile Coach House has now been converted into an enclave that showcases important events, such as the transfer of capital from Calcutta to Delhi. One of the enclaves in the Stables display the various gifts received by the Indian presidents. Keep two to three hours at least for a good look at the place. If your visit falls on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday, you may also pay a visit to the Main Building, including premier rooms like the Ashok Hall, Durbar Hall, Banquet Hall, Drawing Rooms, etc. and the Central Lawn.

The Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum complex, open on all days except Mondays and Gazetted Holidays But do remember, a request for visit to the Rashtrapati Bhavan has to be made on-line through Non-refundable and non- transferable registration charges of Rs 50 per head apply (children below eight years exempted). Online booking is subject to confirmation through Email /SMS. For entry, Indian citizens are required to carry valid photo ID Cards. Foreigners have to make their request for visit along with photocopies of their passport. On the day of visit, they are required to carry their original passport for identification.

Timing is from 9 am to 4 pm. General visitors have enter through Gate No.2 (Rajpath); Gate No.37 (via Dalhousie Road-Hukmi Mai Marg); and Gate No.38 (via Church Road-Brassy Avenue) of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Delhi Tourism’s Ho-Ho Bus covers Rashtrapati Bhavan on its route.


Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Mumbai

Located in heritage Kala Ghoda precincts of Mumbai, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) sits pretty at the end of a landscaped garden. Earlier known as the Prince of Wales Museum, opened to the public in 1922, the museum is a grand example of the Indo-Saracenic style, the hallmark of architect George Wittet. The building itself is a study in architecture — the Indian pillared hall, the arched pavilion, the dome designed after the Gol Gumbaz of Bijapur and the finial copied from Taj Mahal at Agra, small jalis allowing the play of light and air, etc.  Today, CSMVS houses nearly 50,000 artefacts, consisting of excavated artefacts from Harappan sites, sculptures from different eras, Indian miniature paintings, European paintings, porcelain and ivories from China and Japan, Natural history, coins, weapons, etc. The galleries are spread over the three-floor main building and the east-wing extension building. The Museum has round the year activities and exhibitions, details of which are available on

Facilities at CSMVS include elevators and wheelchairs for senior citizens and differently-abled visitors, café, audio guides and guided tours, souvenir shop, etc. The Museum is open from Monday to Sunday - 10.15am to 6pm except during specific holidays. The Museum can be easily reached from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and the Churchgate Railway Terminus. You may combine a visit to the museum with a visit to National Gallery of Modem Art and Jehangir Art Gallery.


The Indian Museum, Kolkata

The Indian Museum Kolkata

The mummified body lies in its glass case, ignorant of the interest it generates aeons later. Said to be around 4,000 years old and probably obtained from the tombs of the kings at Gourvah (Egypt), the mummy finds a mention in a listing of the attractions of the museum published in 1883. Even today, it remains one of the biggest attractions of the Indian Museum in Kolkata.  

The Indian Museum, founded in 1814, moved from one premises to another, named variously, until it settled in its present address and was opened to the public in April 1878. It is said that the Indian Museum is the earliest and the largest multipurpose museum not only in the Indian subcontinent but also in the Asia-Pacific region. The galleries have been largely divided under various topics — archaeology, anthropology, arts, geology, zoology, botany, etc.; each gallery divided further according to period and genres, such as Bharhut and Gandhara galleries, coins, Egyptian, Mughal and Bengal Paintings galleries, decorative art and textile gallery, masks, musical instruments, etc.

Located near Kolkata’s most happening area, Park Street, the Indian Museum can be easily accessed through the Park Street station of the Metro Railway. The Indian Museum is open from 10am to 4.30pm between December and February. For the remaining months, the closing time is 5pm. The museum is closed on Mondays and other specific holidays. Entry is Rs 20 for Indians and Rs 500 for foreigners. The museum also holds many programmes round the year, details of which can be found on  


Janjatiya Sangrahalaya, Bhopal

Janjatiya Sangrahalaya Bhopal

A larger than life replica of a tribal bracelet with intricate art work depicting the tribal lifestyle or the pile of offering to Baabdeb that rises to the ceiling not only draw sheer admiration but are also examples of how modern conceptualisation can enliven every day happenings. The sprawling Tribal Museum in Bhopal, which largely depicts the life and culture of the tribes of Madhya Pradesh is in itself a work of art.   Outdoor exhibits complement the indoor galleries. The sprawling yet well-planned museum is largely divided into galleries reflecting tribal life, their beliefs, their homes, culture and art, games, etc. Each artefact or display has been executed to mesmeric perfection. There is also a gallery dedicated to tribes from other states of India. A guided tour is the best way to see the museum or you can ask for a brochure that gives details of the displays.

Located in a corner of Shyamala Hills, the Depot Chouraha is the nearest public bus stop, or you can drive straight to the museum. The museum is open on all days except Mondays and specific holidays, from 12 pm to 7pm between November and January; during the remaining months, it closes at 8pm. Ticketed entry — Rs 10 per head for Indians and Rs 100 for foreigners. For details, see


Dakshina Chitra, Chennai

Dakshin Chitra

A visit to the Dakshina Chitra, located about 50km away by road from Chennai, is probably the quickest way to get acquainted with the mesmerising art and culture of south India. A cross cultural living museum of art, architecture, lifestyles, crafts and performing arts of south India, it has grown under the aegis of Madras Craft Foundation. One of the biggest tasks undertaken by the museum is the setting up of the heritage houses — each purchased, dismantled and relocated at Dakshina Chitra — which today reflect the lifestyle of the communities that lived in these houses. What’s more, visitors strolling along the recreated streetscapes may explore contextual exhibitions, interact with typical village artisans, buy from the craftshop, and witness folk performances set in an authentic ambience, according to the museum website. Craft bazars and other programmes are also held from time to time.

Dakshina Chitra also offers guest house and restaurant facilities.  Located at Muttukadu on the East Coast Road, it is open from 10am to 6pm on all days except Tuesday and Diwali. Ticketed entry — Rs 100 per head (except during festival days) for Indians and Rs 250 per head for foreigners. Discounted rates for students. More details available on  


Related Articles

Secret Kolkata: 5...

Uttara Gangopadhyay January 15 , 2020

The Life of the Indian...

Sahana Iyer October 26 , 2019

A Whale Of A Time At...

Uttara Gangopadhyay September 21 , 2018

All Tags

Here to there

Explore Directions(Routes) and more...
to Go

Our Other Editions

Outlook’ is India’s most vibrant weekly news magazine with critically and globally acclaimed print and digital editions. Now in its 23rd year...

Explore All
  • Check out our Magazine of the month
  • Offbeat destinations
  • In-depth storytelling
  • Stunning pictures
  • Subscribe