Brimming with culture, vibrancy, flavour and an unusual charm, India has never failed to stun me. It accommodates a largely diverse population and still manages to bring out the differences as a strength. To celebrate 73 years of independence, we look to educate ourselves about the lifelines of our nation that have made India a force to be reckoned. Here are the four museums you must visit to understand more about the strong foundation of our country and its developments throughout the years.
National Police Memorial and Museum
Clad in khakhi-coloured uniforms, the police force guard and protect the people of the nation, ensuring law enforcement. A tribute to all those who lost their lives doing their duty, the National Police Memorial ground level displays large marble slabs carved with the names of officers. It is rather overwhelming and emotional to see the sheer number of lives dedicated to serving the nation. When we first arrived here, it was astonishing to see the lack of visitors. Perhaps it is the fact that it was only recently constructed in 2018 and rather unknown to people.
Once you walk down the slopes on either side of the entrance, the museum reveals itself with a humble entrance. Your journey will start with a corridor depicting the history of law enforcement that opens up into a state-of-the-art exhibition. Everything from designations, the structure and training of the Indian police to significant developments and incidents are displayed in this museum. It even discusses the contribution of the force in each state with individual exhibits.
While the museum celebrates the developments of the force-- the increasing role of women, the links between the police and sports and festivals, the police bands and even the usually looked-over animal squad--, it also highlights the darker moments of our nation such as the attacks on Taj in 2008 and Akshardham in 2002. Such sensitive topics are displayed not only with artistic brilliance but also with empathy and respect.
The museum also has a theatre that showcases short films and documentaries and other unusual facilities such a e-shradhanjali monitor for visitor contributions. Thorough and marvelously planned, this museum is a do-not-miss on our list.
National Rail Museum
Discover India’s locomotive heritage and learn more about the history of trains at the intricate National Rail Museum, built in 1970. An impressive collection of everything locomotive, the museum records and displays an array of exhibits ranging from full-scale trains and miniature models to fine details such as cogs, wheels, electrical fittings and even operative levers. The museum’s expansive collection also familiarises viewers with the setup of vintage trains with saloon furniture exhibits, a wall of number plates and even the history of passenger services.
Interactive features such as an arcade style route mapping game, fastest finger first quizzes and informative kiosks makes the experience memorable for a person of any age. You can also share your experience at the museum on their massive feedback wall. Save the best for last and embark on a ride on the joy train with your family or friends. The train circulates the yard and shows you large sheds containing real engines of historic trains. It’s certainly the highlight of the trip.
What makes the museum even more appealing is the incorporation of quirky elements that help a viewer enhance their experience. The exterior walls of the museum are brushed with memorable scenes of our favourite movie train scenes including Jab We Met’s hilarious chatter scene and the iconic “Jaa, Simran, Jaa” moment from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge.
Supreme Court Museum
2018 was a golden year for the judiciary and in turn the citizens of India as landmark judgements were passed in the Supreme Court, including the decriminalisation of Section 377, amendments making Aadhar constitutional with condition and the scrapping of adultery as a legal crime. One can only wonder the weight of the power and impact that the Supreme Court holds. Honouring the judiciary system of India, the Supreme Court museum shows the history and development of the judiciary system in India.
The museum is segregated into two sections- one dealing with the evolution of the judiciary system of India and the other showcasing exhibits about the Federal Court and Supreme Court. An in-depth look into the legal system, the museum showcases even the simpler things such as the historic furniture, ceremonial wigs, costumes and souvenirs. Of course, the significance of landmark judgements throughout history can be felt in this museum. You can also see the files relating to these cases.
The museum also airs documentaries on the history of the judiciary in India. In addition to that, you can see silver coins, Indian postal stamps and maces displayed.
Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum
Here’s one for the art, culture and history aficionados. The enormous Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum showcases historic artefacts and documents for all those who wish to learn more about our country. You can view the lavish gifts received by the former presidents of our nation, furniture from the Rashtrapati Bhavan state rooms (yellow drawing room, south drawing room, morning room etc.), arms and ammunition used in previous wars and even original drawings of the Rashtrapati Bhavan itself by Sir Edwin Lutyens.
Established in 2014, the museum is fairly new and thus stuns with incorporation of brilliant technology to elevate the experience beyond simple exhibits. A square shaped box presents holographic images of our former presidents orating their popular speeches.
A hand shadow show is also put on at the museum to the backdrop of commentary about the elections, Rashtrapati Bhavan, the parliament and Indian villages. There is also virtual reality technology used to engage the viewers where one can see Mahatma Gandhi. Personal items of the presidents also give a nice touch getting to know more about the leaders of our nation.