Housing an extensive and grand collection of artifacts and relics from the historical and cultural past of India along with several other fascinating galleries illustrating the natural wonders of the world and the economic heritages, the Indian Museum in Kolkata is one of the oldest museums in the world and a must-have experience in the City of Joy Kolkata.


Information for Visitors

Timing: 10 am to 6:30 pm (Tuesday to Friday); 10 am to 8 pm (Saturday and Sunday); Closed on Mondays and public holidays

Location: Nehru Road, Park Street, Kolkata, West Bengal

Entry Fees: Rs50 for Indians, Rs500 for Foreigners, Rs20 for Kids above 5 years

The Indian civilization is one of the oldest civilizations in the world and thus has some of the most ancient relics to showcase. One of the best places where you will find these old relics and antiquities is the Indian Museum located in Kolkata, also known as the City of Joy. Being the largest and the earliest multipurpose museum in India as well as the Asia-Pacific region, and one of the oldest museums in the world, the Indian Museum in Kolkata was established over 200 years ago in 1814 by the Asiatic Society of Bengal and is a heritage monument of the city.

Housing an extensive range of assortment of artifacts that illustrate the social and cultural past of India from pre-historic times, the Indian Museum showcases exhibits from six fields; Art, Anthropology, Zoology, Economic Botany, Geology, and Archeology. Upon getting established, the museum was known as the Asiatic Society Museum and later on came to be known as the Imperial Museum and later familiarized as the Indian Museum. It was in 1867 that the construction for the current building of the museum began and in 1875 all the collectibles from the Asiatic Society Building were transferred to the current building. In 1878, the Indian Museum opened its gate to the general public with two galleries with the addition of new galleries over the years. The museum is administered by the Indian Government Ministry of Culture and is one of the most visited attractions of the city as well as a delight for the history and science paramours.

The Indian Museum houses exhibit not only from the Indian sub-continent but from all over the world and especially from Europe. Massive and indigenous objects such as armors, antiques, relics from the Mughal era, fossils, mummies, skeletons, etc., are housed in the different galleries of the museum. Since its inception, the institution has been delivering its services to the people of India as an embodiment of art and culture of India. It has advanced into the largest museum of its kind in the country exhibiting the heritage and pride of the nation and being emphasized as one of the pioneering National Institutions in the Constitution of the Republic of India.

In addition to this, the museum also has a library that shelves over 50,000 books, rare publications, and journals which the visitors can access by paying a nominal fee. To buy some souvenirs or memorabilia such as photographs, postcards, art albums, children’s books, etc., the Museum Shop has it all. The Indian Museum also organizes exhibitions throughout the year in distinct fields for example sculpture, cinema, biological diversity, photography, literature, and many more for the entertainment of the visitors and to impart knowledge to the young masses.

Galleries of Indian Museum Kolkata

The section of the gallery displays birds and their behavior/relationship with ecosystem. Moreover, specimens of foreign birds from distinct continents and country are also on display.

Bronze Gallery in the Indian Museum houses numerous metal images in its repository which dates to 8th to 14th century CE, many of which can be classified into several regional characters that underline the features of schools once established under various political leaders. The Metal Sculpture Gallery is one example which throws light to some schools and particular pieces of merit as well.

The gallery showcases the architectural ruins, railings, and the only surviving gateway, the Eastern Gateway called ‘’Torana’’ from a place called ‘’Bharhut’’ in the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh. This was excavated by Sir Alexander Cunningham in 1873 and belonged to the Sungaperiod. The gateway is made from red sandstone and carved on to its exterior are reliefs like Jataka tales, Stories of the life of Lord Buddha, Plant, Animal and Geometrical motifs, Demi gods and goddesses – Yakshas and Yakshini, Devatas.

The unique assortment of coins in the Indian Museum are numbered more than fifty-two thousand that have been collected from the distinct regions of the Indian sub-continent and date back to 5th – 4th century BC to present date. The gallery displays replicas and original coins from the medieval period to the Republic India in 20 showcases.

The Gallery of Decorative Arts celebrates some of the aesthetic creations of the craftsmen from the ancient time till present. The section consists of Royal Glazed Earthenware, huge front portion of a Salin monastery and temple façade of the Mandalay showing Burmese art, the front piece of a Kathiawar house, objects made of wood, bone, brass, bronze, copperware, silver, ivory, jade, bidri, and damascene.

This section is one of the most exciting galleries that presents an exquisite collection of Egyptian antiquities. It offers the visitors a glimpse of Egyptian Civilization which includes an Egyptian mummy of 4000 years old that attracts numerous visitors.

The gallery showcases insects from around the world and fossil remains of insects dating back to pre-historic era and the time of the dinosaurs.

The unique assortment of coins in the Indian Museum are numbered more than fifty-two thousand that have been collected from the distinct regions of the Indian sub-continent and date back to 5th – 4th century BC to present date. The gallery displays replicas and original coins from the medieval period to the Republic India in 20 showcases.

This newly renovated gallery holds a huge assortment of unique stuffed mammals from India and around the globe. The total number of exhibits are 314, out of which some are more than a century old. The collection includes stuffed animals, horns, antlers, skeletons, trophy heads, and skulls.

The gallery is dedicated to showcase the sculptural development of India. The sculptures that are on display belong to Buddhist, Brahmanical, and Jain faiths which are dated between 2nd century CE and 15th century CE. These belong to the Kushana, Gupta, Pala-Sena, Pallava, Chandela, Hoysala, Chola, and Vijaynagar periods. It lso displays sculptures of Buddhist and Brahmanical origins from South-East Asian countries that were excavated from Java and Indonesia.

The Mask Gallery was recently developed and showcases masks from West Bengal, Orissa, Assam, Karnataka, and from Bhutan, and Papua New Guinea.


Textile Gallery

The Textile Gallry displays the collection of exuberant fabrics produced in Indian sub-continent which comprises fabrics made of cotton, wool, as well as silk. The displays consist of Shawls of Kashmir, Phulkari from Punjab, mirror works from Kuchh, rumals of Chamba, Banarasi saree from Banaras, Jamdani saree from Dacca, Baluchari and Kantha saree from Bengal, Soznis from Pakistan, and printed fabrics from Lucknow and Chennai.

Paintings Gallery

The Paintings Gallery is divided into two main sections that are Indian Miniatures and Bengal School of Art. The Indian Miniatures section contains numerous miniature paintings ranging from Persian, Mughal, Province Mughal, Deccan, Rajasthani, Pahari, and Company School of Paintings.

Bengal School of Arts showcases the masterpieces from the nineteenth and twentieth century that belongs to the Neo-Bengal School of Paintings like Rabindranath Tagore, Gaganendranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Sunayani Devi, Asit Halder, Ishwari Prasad, Abdur Rehman Chugtai, and Jamini Roy. All these have been made using watercolors.

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