A crawl through the depths of the National Museum, Delhi

National Museum, New Delhi

National Museum, Delhi is the chief Museum of India. It houses a magnificent collection of artifacts, sculptures, paintings, coins, jewelry, manuscripts, anthropological objects, textiles, arms and armors symbolizing 5000 years of Indian art and Craftsmanship. The museum has over 2,10,000 art objects, representing the multi-cultural history and heritage of India.

Antiquities from Central Asia and Pre-Columbian artifacts form the two non-Indian Galleries in the Museum. The Museum consists of 16 Galleries, each dedicated to a particular period of history or art form. My favorite gallery is the Alamkara; a gallery filled with jewelry, dedicated to the beauty of the ornaments. There are ornaments from the Harrapan and Mohenjodaro period made of stone and shells, and those from the Mughal period made of Rubies and Emeralds. It celebrates the story of Indian craftsmanship of Sunars and the history and culture of the time period.

A specimen from the Alamkara gallery. Image: Alishah Ali

The authorities at the museum informed that if one spent even one minute with each piece in the National Museum’s collection it would take three years, nine months and twenty three days to view every item. Thus they have created a 90 minute tour guide providing the highlights of every gallery so that one can have at least view of the essential pieces of the collection. One mentioned in the guide is the Gupta Gallery, which features a collection of Vishnu and Shiva sculptures as during the Gupta period religious iconography imroved with innovation emerging from Sarnath and Mathura School.

The inner space is massive and vast. It apparently takes 3 years to get through all the exhibits. Image: Alishah Ali

The Museum channelizes various programs to assist visitors in discovering the impressive heritage of the country. Two of their programs are The volunteer guide program: Path Pradarshak and Yuva sathi Program: Young visitors program. The museum also offers a short course in Indian arts and aesthetics, which is a detailed foray into the history of art and architecture in India. The Museum under National Museum Institute provides Post Graduation course in Conservation and Museology. The Museum also has a huge Library and Theater which can be accessed by the visitors and students with due permission.

The outer arcade of the museum. Image: Alishah Ali

The space is a must visit if one is stopping by in Delhi. It really shows how the capital is thorough in its approach to showcasing Indian history.

  • I am a history major, and a heritage Neophiliac looking forward for a career in Heritage conservation and protection.

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