This is not a museum, rather it is a place for ideas. Founded in 1814, by the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Indian Museum is the largest and oldest museum in India. Here one can find various historical items like collections of armors, antiques, skeletons, ornaments, fossils, mummies, and whatnot!
It feels as if the whole place oozes the past glory of our country. For those, who love to know about our country and its various historical aspects, a visit to this museum won’t disappoint at all.
Currently, the Indian Museum in West Bengal has 35 galleries that have been further divided into six different categories - Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, Geology, Zoology, and Economic Botany. There is also a library within the museum premises for those who want to have a taste of our fascinating history.
The museum is open from Tuesday to Friday from 10 am-6:30 pm. And on Saturdays and Sundays, it is open from 10 am-8 pm. For foreign nationals, the price of the entry ticket is Rs.500 and for the locals, it is Rs.50
History of Indian Museum
This museum was established in the 19th century by the Asiatic Society of Bengal (founded in 1784 by Sir William Jones) which is presently located at 1 Park Street, Kolkata. However, in 1875, the museum was shifted to its present geographical location. And due to the first-mover advantage, this museum became the earliest as well as the largest multi-purpose museum of not just India but in the entire Asia-Pacific region. And since its establishment, it was as if there was a whole movement that started in India with great momentum of setting up museums. And currently, according to data, there are about 400 museums in our country.
Major Attractions in and Around Indian Museum
1. Bharhut Gallery
In this gallery, the tourists will find the architectural remains of our glorified past. These remains are mainly the railings and the surviving gateway which belonged to the Sunga Period in history. The Sunga or Shunga dynasty was one of the ancient dynasties of our country and was established by Pushyamitra Shunga, after the fall of the Mauryan Empire.
2. Bird Gallery
This particular section exhibits the ecosystem of birds. What’s interesting is that one can also find various specimens of foreign birds from different continents here as well.
3. Botanical Gallery
Those who are interested in botany and plants will find this gallery to be quite a tasteful experience.
4. Bronze Gallery
The gallery consists of a sizeable number of metal images that are as old as between the 8th and 14th century CE.
5. Coin Gallery
Here you will find a unique variety of coins. It is believed that there are 52,000 coins preserved here from ancient times. However, not all of them are original. Yes, this gallery also displays some replicas of the original ones as well, ranging from uninscribed coins to even the coins of independent India.
6. Egypt Gallery
Here the visitors will get to taste the antiquities of ancient Egypt, offering the tourists a glimpse of the Egyptian Civilization. The main attraction of this gallery is a 4,000-year-old mummy.
7. Gandhara Gallery
In this gallery, the tourists will find the sculptures which depict the life of Lord Buddha. Apart from that, it also displays the Boddhisattva and Maitreya of the Gandhara School of Art, which flourished in the 2nd century CE.
8. L. Archeology Gallery
This gallery showcases the sculptors belonging to the Buddhist, Brahmanical, and Jain faiths dating between the 2nd Century and the 15th Century CE. These belonged to the Kushana, Gupta, Pala-Sena, Chandella, Pallava, Hoysala, Vijaynagar, and Chola dynasties.
9. Visit Sudder Street
This place is very well-known among tourists. Here you will find just about anything that you could imagine from cheap eateries to foreign currency exchange. It is a great option to taste and feel the raw picture of Kolkata.
10. New Market at Lindsay Street
The New Market on Lindsay street is an interesting option to explore after your visit to the Indian Museum. Here, the tourists can relish the shopping experience of over 2,000 stalls wherein there is a lot of opportunity for shopping around ranging from flowers, clothing, food items and so much more.
How to Reach Indian Museum
Known as the city of joy, Kolkata is a must-visit city for anyone who is fascinated with Indian culture. It is located at a distance of 1,532, 2,179, 1,891, 1,499 km from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. Let’s see how you can reach here by the following means of transportation.
The Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU) situated at Dumdum is the best option to reach here by flight. Earlier, this airport was known as the Dum Dum Airport. It has been named after one of the freedom fighters of India.
The Kolkata Airport is considered the largest hub for air traffic in the eastern part of the country. This airport handled 20 million passenger traffic during the fiscal year of 2017-2018 on an annual basis and is considered the fifth busiest airport in India.
After you deboard at the airport, you will need to cover the total distance of 15-20 km. For this, you can hire a cab or opt for some other means of transportation.
Here is how you can reach here by the following flight routes.
Delhi - Board IndiGo, Go Air, Spicejet, Vistara flights from Indira Gandhi International Airport. The airfares start from Rs.3,000
Lucknow - Board IndiGo, Go Air, Vistara flights from Lucknow Airport. The airfares start from Rs.3,000
Patna - Board IndiGo, Spicejet, Air India, Vistara airlines from Patna Airport. The airfares start from Rs.2,500
Nagpur - Board IndiGo, Air India flights from Nagpur Airport. The airfares start from Rs.4,000
Indore - Board Indigo, Vistara, Air India flights from Indore Airport. The airfares start from Rs.4,000
Kolkata is very well connected via efficient train networks to other Indian cities. There are multiple railway stations in Kolkata. However, the main stations are Howrah Railway Station, Kolkata Railway Station, Shalimar Railway Station, and Sealdah Railway Station. All of these stations lie within a radius of 10 km from the Indian Museum. So, depending upon your convenience, you can choose either of them.
Delhi - Board Kolkata Rajdhani Express from New Delhi Railway Station and deboard at the Howrah Railway Junction
Ranchi - Board Shatabadi Express from Ranchi Junction and deboard at the Howrah Junction
Visakhapatnam - Board PDY Howrah Express from Visakhapatnam Station and deboard at the Howrah Junction
Hyderabad - Board East Coast Express from Secunderabad Junction and deboard at the Howrah Junction
Depending upon your location, you can also plan on traveling to Kolkata via road networks as well. For this, you can either choose to travel in your own car, cab or bus.
From Ranchi, the bus fares start from Rs.700- Rs.800. From Bhubaneswar, the bus fares start from Rs.600. From Jamshedpur, the bus fares start from Rs.500