Delhi, known worldwide as the national capital of India, is a true melting pot of traditions and both the old and new Indian cultures. This city boasts of countless historical sites, heritage buildings, shopping destinations, entertainment zones, and food joints. Whether you are a visiting tourist or a local denizen of Delhi, you will be never short of places to explore and enjoy here.
There are many museums in this city that you should visit in order to understand the historical significance and to discover cultural heritage of the city of Delhi.
We have compiled a handy list of top 5 museums you must not forget to visit, if you are visiting Delhi for the first time:
1. National Rail Museum
Established in the year 1977, the National Rail Museum symbolizes the glorious history of the Indian Railways. If you are curious about India’s rail heritage or simply a train ride lover, you will definitely find this place fascinating, entertaining, and educational, all at the same time. It is one of the rare museums in India that boasts of both closed and open air exhibits.
This unique museum houses an exclusive collection of numerous real size static and working rail models of yester-years and present era. One of the major crowd-pullers of this museum is the model of the first train of India during re-Independence period. It was a steam engine that made its first journey from erstwhile Mumbai to Thane in 1853 A.D. The other major attraction for all visitors is Fairy Queen which is the world’s oldest functional steam engine. You can also enjoy a slow but thrilling ride in joy train and PSMT monorail in the museum, itself. The PSMT (acronym for Patiala State Monorail Trainways) monorail is an exceptional steam-driven rail that was launched in the year 1907. There is a beautiful Fire Engine near the exit door.
You can also have a look at various signaling equipments, antique furniture, photographs, documents and other railway-related literature on display, too.
This interesting museum is located in Chanakyapuri region in New Delhi. The opening hours are from 9.30 a.m. To 5.30 p.m. and this museum remains closed on Monday and during Government holidays.
2. International Dolls Museum
This picturesque museum was set up by the famous cartoonist, K. Shankar Pillai and has one of the biggest and incredible collections of beautiful costume dolls from India and abroad. There are 160 display cases spread out over two distinct display sections in the museum. One of the sections is dedicated to gorgeous handcrafted dolls from different states of India and allows a fascinating insight into the cultural diversity of the country. The other section displays over 6000 eye-catching pretty dolls from almost 85 countries, worldwide.
If you are a child at heart, traveling with kids, or just want to relieve childhood memories, then making a visit to this doll museum is a must!
This museum is situated inside the building of the Children’s Book Trust, Nehru House, at Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, in Delhi. This museum remains closed on Monday and visiting hours are from 10 a.m-5.30 p.m.
3. Indian Air Force Museum
It is the country’s only museum dedicated to Indian Air Force and showcases the magnificent history and great achievements of the Indian Air force.
It has an impressive collection of old, rare, and recent aircrafts and arsenal used by the Indian Air Force. Some of the aircraft models on exhibit include Dassault Mystere IVa, Sukhoi Su-7, MiG-21, and Supermarine Splitfire. You will surely get mesmerized by the display of many interesting artifacts, soldier’s uniforms, and historic photographs related to Indian Air Force.
This government-owned museum is located at the Palam Air Force Station, Delhi Cantonment and the entry fee is free for all visitors. The visiting hours for tourists are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It, however, remains closed on Monday, Tuesday, and during public holidays.
4. National Crafts Museum
From Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons
This unique and charming museum was set up by the government of India and is one of the largest crafts museums in the country. This place is frequently visited by handicrafts lovers, tribal art aficionado and tourists from all over the world. It houses several folk artworks, tribal paintings, wood carvings, traditional Indian jewelry and textiles, metal ware, terracotta items, and handcrafted toys. The entire museum complex is dotted with mud huts with thatched roofs, painted walls, and small courtyards and symbolizes the lifestyle in rural India.
This lovely museum with rural ambience was formerly known as National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum. It is situated along Bhairon Road, Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. The timings for July-September are 9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and for October-June is 9.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. It remains closed on Monday and public holidays.
5. Red Fort Archaeological Museum
This splendid museum is primarily dedicated to the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar. It showcases relics, costumes, paintings, handlooms, calligraphy, and different decorative objects belonging to the Mughal period. Some of these are pearl-fitted silk robes, King’s hookah, and decorative blue tiles from the13th century. You can walk across the museum and see a map and various weapons once used in the First War of Independence in 1857 A.D. This museum is, undoubtedly, a major attraction for all history enthusiasts and tourists excited to know about the history of pre-independence India.
It is situated in Mumtaz Mahal, Red Fort, in Old Delhi region. Visiting hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and remains closed during public holidays.
You can also spend your spare time in checking out these museums- the National Police Museum, the National Science Centre, and Mahatma Gandhi Museum.
• National Police Museum– It has items related to police weaponry, work techniques, documents, photographs, and counterfeiting instruments. It is situated in Block-4, CGO Complex, Lodi Road in Delhi.
• Gandhi Museum– It is located opposite Raj Ghat, near Ring Road, Delhi. It has memorabilia, newspapers, and books related to the ‘Father of the Nation’.
• National Science Centre– It is actually an educational institute and organizes various science exhibitions. It is involved in educating visitors about workings of science and the history of architecture. It is situated near Gate 1, Pragati Maidan, Bhairon Marg in Delhi.