(Last Updated on : 25/10/2016)
Indian Archaeological Museums
are famous for providing a vivid picture of the Indian subcontinent. They play an integral role in preserving the rich cultural heritage of India, and are present in almost all the major Indian cities. Indian Archaeological Museums exhibit a large variety of excavated materials from ancient and medieval India. Apart from providing information and exhibiting important archaeological elements of ancient times, Indian Archaeological Museums also conduct archaeological excavations. The main objective behind this is to discover archaeological evidences of ancient India and unfolding the history
of Indian civilization. Archaeological records like sculptures
, portraits, coins
and currency, revenue and court fee stamps, wood
en and bronze sculptures, armory etc are ideally housed in the Indian Archaeological Museums.
Archaeological Museum, Purana Quila
It is situated inside the fort
called Purana Quila
. The Archaeological Survey of India
(ASI) carried out excavations in the year 1955 and later again in the period of 1969 to 1973. The materials discovered through various excavations are displayed in the museum, which narrate the settlements in this region around 1000 BC. Cultural aspects of Maurya
and Sultanate empires can be figured out from the artifacts of this museum. Antiquities excavated from other parts of Delhi are also exhibited in this museum.
Taj Museum, Taj Mahal
It is one of most famous archaeological museums of India in Agra district
of Uttar Pradesh
. It is situated within the Taj Mahal
complex, more specifically, in the Jal Mahal. The three galleries of the museum exhibit artifacts related to the construction of Taj Mahal and the architects involved in building this magnificent structure. Manuscripts
, specimen of calligraphy, government
decrees, utensils, arms, marble
pillars etc form the exclusive collection of this beautiful museum. The main hall of the museum houses the paintings of the Mughal
emperor, Shah Jahan
and his wife Mumtaz Mahal
on ivory, encased within decorated wooden frames.
Archaeological Museum, Khajuraho
The Archaeological Museum in Khajuraho
, Madhya Pradesh
, was built in 1967. It displays the loose sculptures
from the temple
s of Khajuraho. The most famous artifacts of this museum include sculptures of Jain
faiths. The museums comprises of five galleries along with a massive hall.
Archaeological Museum, Sanchi
The Archaeological Museum in Sanchi
, Madhya Pradesh, was initially built atop a hill by Sir John Marshall, former Director General of ASI in the year 1919. The museum displayed the collection of artifacts excavated in Sanchi. Later, owing to insufficiency of space, this museum was shifted to a collage building which was subsequently transferred to a new building in 1966. The museum has four galleries and a main hall. The artifacts of this museum are the representatives of Maurya, Satavahana
, Sunga, Kushana and Gupta eras.
Archaeological Museum, Badami
This museum is situated in the Bagalkot district
. Build in the year 1979, this museum hosts numerous ancient artifacts including sculptures, architectural specimens and other excavated materials. In the year 1982, this museum was however turned into a full fledged site museum. Numerous articles belonging to the period of 6th to 16th century AD are displayed in the museum within four galleries. The prominent exhibits of this museum are Lajja Gouri
figurines like elephant
etc, narrative panel depicting Bhagavata
, Kalarimurthy and Makara Torana, carved on both the sides.
Mattanchery Palace Museum, Kochi
Museum is located in Kochi
in the state
. It was set up in May, 1985 in the palace
built by the Portuguese in 1545 AD and was gifted to Veera Kerala Varma for compensating the plundering of a nearby temple. It exhibits a number of artifacts including palanquins, portraits of the Cochin Kings, weapons, dresses, canopy, three royal umbrellas, coins, stamps etc. Another interesting display in the temple are the royal ceremonial dresses of the kings adorned with elaborate lace work with golden thread and royal caps of Cochin Kings.
Archaeological Museum, Konark
This museum stands in the town of Konark
in Puri district
. It hosts numerous loose sculptures and architectural specimens of the famous Sun temple
. The present building of the museum was established in 1968, at a little distance from the main temple. The museum houses four grand galleries, where the first gallery has 62 artifacts, second one has 108 antiquities, third has 45 articles and the fourth one has 45 artifacts on display. The corridor of the museum holds pictures of archaeological sites and ancient monuments
, which depicts the evolution of the architecture
Archaeological Museum, Vikramshila
This museum is situated in the ancient site of Vikramshila
in the vicinity of the Bhagalpur district
. It was constructed in the year 2004 for displaying various artifacts excavated in course of time from this region. The building of the museum forms a cruciform shape. The ground floor of the museum has on display stone sculptures related to Buddhism such as Buddha
etc and mythological figurines including Lord Shiva
, Lord Ganesha
, Lord Krishna
etc. Objects of terracotta
are also displayed in this floor. The first floor hosts articles such as multi shaped beads, lockets, pendants, bronze images, shell objects and many other antiquities.
Archaeological Museum, Old Goa
This museum is situated in the convent portion of the church of St. Francis of Assisi of Old Goa
. It was built in 1964 and was reorganized in 1981. The eight galleries of the museum display artifacts belonging to prehistoric, early history and medieval era. Apart from various antiquities, the museum also exhibits paintings
, postal stamps, capitals, pillars and wooden sculptures. The most significant and prominent articles of the museum include Vishnu
with ten incarnations, wooden sculpture of John the Baptist, Surya
, Luis Vaz de Camees and ivory sculptures of Jesus Crucification.
Archaeological Museum, Lothal
This museum at Lothal
was established in the year 1976 in the Ahmedabad
district of Gujarat
. It houses various artifacts retrieved from the excavations, which continued from 1952 to 1961. It has three massive galleries. The most prominent exhibits of this museum are steatite seals with unicorn motif and inscription
, beads, Persian Gulf type seal, terracotta sealing with an elephant motif, terracotta houses, bull, ivory scale, shell
compass etc. This museum also has a reference library
along with a publication counter which sells publications of archaeological monuments.
Other Indian Archaeological Museums
Other Indian Archaeological Museums include the AP State Archaeology Museum, Hyderabad
; Archaeological Museum, Guntur District
, Andhra Pradesh
; Asiatic Society
; District Archaeological Museum, Warangal, Andhra Pradesh
; Indian Museum, Kolkata, West Bengal
; Nalanda Archaeological Museum, Nalanda, Bihar
; National Museum, New Delhi
; Napier Museum, Kerala; Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, Pune, Maharashtra
; State Archaeological Gallery, Kolkata, West Bengal
and many more.
Some of the Indian archaeological museums restrict their concentration only on the archaeological heritage of the place, where they are situated. However, most of the museums concentrate on the entire archaeological heritage of India and they try to collect and exhibit the archaeological components. Among the numerous archaeological museums in India, there are only a few that have earned recognition not only in India, but also in the world.