National capitals tend to get heavy-handed on the museum front but in India’s case it’s most welcome. Delhi’s panoply of museums, easily accessible from Connaught Place to Dwarka hotels, evince a spectacular diversity that serve as a microcosm of the country itself. Here are a dozen to keep in mind.
Indian Air Force Museum, Palam
Every country’s military propaganda is illuminating in some way and India’s no exception. The nation’s foremost tribute to aircraft and aviation history contains memorabilia, uniforms and photographs galore. Fittingly, a lot of airplanes too, many of the rare varierty.
Eternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum, New Delhi
This relatively recent addition to Delhi’s museum scene was had its ribbon-cutting in 2005 by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The Eternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum is a digital multimedia museum located on the site where Mohandas Gandhi was assassinated in 1948. The first-rate facility attempts to put the Mahatma’s life in perspective and context and, to a large extent, succeeds.
National Gandhi Museum
A nice companion piece to the Eternal museum, the National Gandhi Museum meticulously re-constructs the Mahatma’s bedroom and study and contains a top-notch general studies library. A random collection of personal items is particularly enjoyable to pore over. Most macabre and chilling is the exhibit that displays the blood-soaked loin cloth and shawl of Gandhi, as well as the bullet that took his life.
National Gallery of Modern Art
Mumbai may have more avant-garde gallerists but Delhi’s National Gallery of Modern Art is a fulcrum of the contemporary scene. The collection of close to 15,000 works is housed in the former residential palace of the Maharaja of Jaipur.
National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum
Some of Delhi’s most bustling bazaars can feel like museums, in fits and spurts, but the capital has a bona fide handicrafts museum for those who want to ogle and not haggle. The Ministry of Textiles runs the facility, which faces the Purana Qila complex.
National Museum, Janpath
The National Museum is, quite naturally, the centrepiece of India’s excellent national museum system. The impressive building contains over 200,000 objects, many of which date back some 5,000 years.
National Museum of Natural History
Whenever India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests finds something of note, whether in the foothills of the Himalayas or the Sundarbans, it usually winds up in New Delhi’s National Museum of Natural History. It all makes for one fascinating collection.
National Rail Museum
From the UNESCO World Heritage Mountain Railways of the Himalayas and Western Ghats to the early Monorail Trainways system, India’s National Rail Museum takes visitors on a memorable journey.
National Science Centre
The National Science Centre’s contemporary, almost Brutalist design stands in sharp contrast with much of Delhi’s architecture. It makes sense for a building devoted to India’s imperative contributions to the various fields of science and technology. Exhibits bear names like ‘Human Biology’, ‘Water – the Elixir of Life’ and ‘Emerging Technologies’.
Nehru Memorial Museum & Library
The foremost leader of India’s Independence Movement gets his due at a truly comprehensive museum that looks back not only at the life of Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first Prime Minister, but at a vital chunk of India’s history as well.
It just wouldn’t make sense to visit the capital of the world’s largest democracy without a trip to its Parliament. Inaugurated in 1989 and thoroughly revamped two decades later, Delhi’s Parliament Museum chronicles the path to independence and contains a wonderful assembly of exhibits.
Sanskriti Kendra Museum
This trio of museums – the Museum of Everyday Art, Museum of Indian Terracotta and Textile Museum – provide a thrilling glimpse at tribal and village folk art from every state in the country.