If you are a history buff, an art lover, or a curious traveler, you will find something that fascinates you at the Indian Museum in Kolkata. This museum is not only the oldest and largest in India, but also one of the most impressive in the world. It has 35 galleries that showcase more than 100,000 artefacts from various fields of human knowledge, such as art, archaeology, anthropology, geology, zoology and economic botany.
You can see rare and precious items like the Dancing Girl statue from the Indus Valley Civilization, the Gandhara Buddha statue influenced by Greek art, the Egyptian Mummy preserved for thousands of years, and the Sacred Relics of Buddha that contain bone fragments of Buddha and his disciples. You can also admire the stunning architecture of the museum building, which is a blend of Indian and European styles.
The Indian Museum was founded in 1814 by the Asiatic Society of Bengal, a group of scholars and enthusiasts who wanted to collect and preserve the cultural and natural heritage of India. The museum was originally housed in the Asiatic Society building, but later moved to its present location in 1878. The museum building was designed by Walter B. Granville, who also designed the Calcutta High Court and the GPO. The museum covers an area of 10 acres and has two floors and a basement. The museum also hosts various events and activities, such as exhibitions, lectures, workshops, publications and outreach programs.
In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about visiting the Indian Museum in Kolkata, from its timings and entry fee to its history and collections. We will also give you some tips on where to stay and what else to see in Kolkata, the city of joy. So, what are you waiting for? Read on and get ready for an unforgettable experience.
Timings and Entry Fee
The Indian Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 5 pm. The museum is closed on Mondays and public holidays. The entry fee for Indian visitors is Rs. 50 for adults and Rs. 20 for children (below 18 years), students (with ID cards) and senior citizens (above 60 years).
The entry fee for foreign visitors is Rs. 500 for adults and Rs. 300 for children (below 18 years), students (with ID cards) and senior citizens (above 60 years). You can also buy a composite ticket for Rs. 1000 that allows you to visit all the museums under the Ministry of Culture in Kolkata, such as the Victoria Memorial, the Science City and the Birla Planetarium.
You can buy your tickets online through the official website of the museum or at the ticket counter at the entrance. You can also book guided tours through the website or at the information desk inside the museum.
The guided tours are available in English, Hindi, Bengali and other languages on request. The duration of the guided tours is about an hour and a half and they cover all the major galleries of the museum.
If you want to avoid crowds or get discounts, here are some tips for you:
- Visit on weekdays or early mornings when there are fewer visitors.
- Visit on International Museum Day (May 18) or World Heritage Day (April 18) when the entry is free for all.
- Visit on your birthday or anniversary when you can get a 50% discount on your ticket.
- Visit with a group of 10 or more people when you can get a 10% discount on your ticket.
History of the Museum
The history of the Indian Museum is closely linked with the history of India itself. The museum was founded in 1814 by Dr. Nathaniel Wallich, a Danish botanist who worked for the East India Company. He was also a member of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, which was established in 1784 by Sir William Jones, a British jurist and scholar who had a keen interest in Indian languages and culture.
The Asiatic Society aimed to collect and study the natural and cultural resources of India and Asia. Wallich proposed to create a museum within the Asiatic Society building to display the specimens and artefacts that were collected by him and other members of the society.
The proposal was approved by Lord Hastings, the then Governor-General of India, who also donated Rs. 10,000 for the museum. The museum was initially called the Asiatic Museum, but later renamed as the Indian Museum in 1836. The museum was managed by a committee of the Asiatic Society until 1866, when it was transferred to the government of India.
The museum soon outgrew its original space and needed a larger and more suitable building. In 1868, the government acquired a plot of land near Chowringhee Road, where the present museum building stands today. The construction of the new building started in 1872 and was completed in 1878. The new building was designed by Walter B. Granville in the Italian Renaissance style with Indian motifs. The building has a grand entrance with a portico supported by Corinthian columns. The building also has a central courtyard with a fountain and a garden.
The museum was inaugurated by Lord Lytton, the then Viceroy of India, on February 2, 1878. The museum had 12 galleries at that time, which were later expanded to 35. The museum also acquired new collections from various sources, such as donations, purchases, excavations, expeditions and exchanges. Some of the notable donors of the museum include Raja Rajendralal Mitra, Raja S.N. Banerjee, Sir R.N. Mookerjee, Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, Sir C.V. Raman and Rabindranath Tagore. Some of the notable collections of the museum include the Buddhist stupa from Bharhut, the coins from Taxila, the sculptures from Khajuraho and Konark, the paintings from Ajanta and Mughal courts, and the manuscripts from Tibet and Nepal.
The museum has witnessed many changes and challenges in its long history. It has survived two world wars, the partition of India, the Naxalite movement, and several natural disasters. It has also undergone several renovation and modernization projects to improve its infrastructure and facilities. The museum celebrated its bicentennial anniversary in 2014 with a series of events and programs. The museum is currently undergoing a major redevelopment project that aims to transform it into a world-class institution with state-of-the-art technology and services.
Nearby Hotels and Attractions
If you are planning to visit the Indian Museum in Kolkata, you may also want to explore some other nearby attractions that will make your trip more enjoyable and memorable. You may also need a comfortable and convenient place to stay near the museum. Here are some of our recommendations for you:
Top hotels near Indian Museum:
If you are looking for a luxurious and relaxing stay near the museum, you can choose from some of the top hotels in Kolkata, such as ITC Royal Bengal, The Oberoi Grand Kolkata, Hyatt Regency Kolkata, ITC Sonar, etc. These hotels offer world-class amenities and services, such as spacious rooms, swimming pools, spas, restaurants, bars, etc.
You can also enjoy the views of the city skyline or the Hooghly river from these hotels. If you are looking for a budget-friendly and cozy stay near the museum, you can opt for some of the best-rated hotels in Kolkata, such as FabHotel Orion Crystal Park Circus, FabHotel Aayash, etc. These hotels offer clean and comfortable rooms, free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast, etc. You can also access the nearby attractions easily from these hotels. You can book your hotel through our website or partner sites and get a 10% discount on your total amount.
Other places to visit in Kolkata:
Kolkata is a city that has something for everyone. Whether you are interested in history, culture, art, religion or entertainment, you will find plenty of places to visit in Kolkata that will suit your taste. Here are some of the places that you can visit near the museum:
Marble Palace Mansion:
This is a 19th-century palatial mansion that was built by Raja Rajendra Mullick, a wealthy merchant and art collector. The mansion is famous for its marble walls, floors and sculptures, as well as its collection of paintings by European masters like Rubens, Reynolds and Van Gogh. The mansion also has a zoo that houses various animals and birds.
This is the headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity, a religious congregation founded by Mother Teresa in 1950. The house contains the tomb of Mother Teresa, as well as a museum that displays her personal belongings, awards and photographs. The house also serves as a place of worship and service for the poor and needy.
Science City Kolkata:
This is the largest science centre in India that aims to promote scientific awareness and education among the public. The centre has various attractions, such as a space theatre, a planetarium, an evolution park, a maritime centre, a butterfly garden, etc. The centre also organizes various events and programs for students and visitors.
St. Paul’s Cathedral Kolkata:
This is an Anglican cathedral that was built in 1847 in the Gothic Revival style. The cathedral is known for its stained glass windows, murals, paintings and sculptures. The cathedral also has a library that contains rare books and manuscripts.
This is a seaside town that is located about 170 km from Kolkata. It is a popular destination for beach lovers who want to enjoy the pristine sand, clear water and serene atmosphere. Tajpur also offers various activities, such as boating, fishing, surfing, etc.
Birla Mandir Kolkata:
This is a Hindu temple that was built by the Birla family in 1996. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and his consort Radha. The temple is made of white marble and has intricate carvings and paintings. The temple also has a museum that displays the history and culture of the Birla family.
How to Reach
The metro is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to reach the Indian Museum in Kolkata from the Kolkata city center. The nearest metro station to the museum is Park Street, which is about 1 km away from the museum. You can walk or take a rickshaw from there.
To reach Park Street metro station from the Kolkata city center, you can take any of the following metro lines:
Line 1 (North-South): This line connects Dum Dum in the north to Kavi Subhash in the south. You can board this line from any of the stations in the city center, such as Esplanade, Chandni Chowk, Central or Mahatma Gandhi Road. You can get off at Park Street station and exit from gate no. 1.
Line 2 (East-West): This line connects Salt Lake Sector V in the east to Howrah Maidan in the west. You can board this line from any of the stations in the city center, such as Esplanade or Sealdah. You can get off at Central station and change to Line 1. You can then get off at Park Street station and exit from gate no. 1.
The metro fare ranges from Rs. 5 to Rs. 30 depending on the distance. The metro operates from 6:45 am to 9:55 pm on weekdays and from 9:55 am to 9:55 pm on Sundays and public holidays1.
The bus is another convenient and affordable way to reach the Indian Museum in Kolkata from the Kolkata city center. There are many buses that ply on various routes that pass near or through the museum area. You can board any of these buses from any of the bus stops in the city center, such as Esplanade Bus Terminus, Park Street Bus Stop or BBD Bagh Bus Stop. You can get off at any of these bus stops near or opposite to the museum:
Chowringhee Road Bus Stop: This bus stop is located on Jawaharlal Nehru Road (also known as Chowringhee Road), which is the main road where the museum is situated. You can cross the road and walk towards the museum entrance.
S.N. Banerjee Road Bus Stop: This bus stop is located on S.N. Banerjee Road (also known as Corporation Street), which is a parallel road to Jawaharlal Nehru Road. You can walk along S.N. Banerjee Road till you reach Jawaharlal Nehru Road and then turn left towards the museum entrance.
Middleton Row Bus Stop: This bus stop is located on Middleton Row (also known as Middleton Street), which is a perpendicular road to Jawaharlal Nehru Road. You can walk along Middleton Row till you reach Jawaharlal Nehru Road and then turn right towards the museum entrance.
Some of the buses that you can take to reach these bus stops are:
Line 203: This bus runs between Shyambazar and Gariahat via Esplanade, Park Street and S.N. Banerjee Road2.
Line AC-4A: This bus runs between Howrah Station and Salt Lake Karunamoyee via Esplanade, Park Street and Chowringhee Road3.
Line AC-17: This bus runs between Howrah Station and Golf Green via Esplanade, Park Street and Chowringhee Road.
The bus fare ranges from Rs. 6 to Rs. 80 depending on the type and distance of the bus. The buses operate from 6 am to 10 pm on weekdays and from 7 am to 10 pm on Sundays and public holidays.
The taxi is the most comfortable and flexible way to reach the Indian Museum in Kolkata from the Kolkata city center. You can hail a taxi from any of the taxi stands or roads in the city center, such as Esplanade, Park Street, New Market or BBD Bagh. You can also book a taxi online or by phone through various apps or services, such as Ola, Uber, Meru or Kolkata Taxi6.
You can tell the driver to take you to the Indian Museum on Jawaharlal Nehru Road or Chowringhee Road. The driver will drop you near or opposite to the museum entrance. You can also ask the driver to wait for you outside the museum if you want to return by the same taxi.
The taxi fare depends on the meter reading and the traffic conditions. The minimum fare is Rs. 25 for the first 2 km and Rs. 12 for every subsequent km. There may be additional charges for night time, waiting time, luggage, tolls, etc.
If you are feeling adventurous and energetic, you can also reach the Indian Museum in Kolkata from the Kolkata city center by foot. This is a good way to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city and explore its heritage and culture. However, this may not be suitable for everyone, especially during the hot and humid weather or the rainy season.
To reach the Indian Museum by foot from the Kolkata city center, you can follow any of these routes:
From Esplanade: You can walk along Jawaharlal Nehru Road (also known as Chowringhee Road) till you reach the museum entrance. This route is about 2 km long and takes about 25 minutes to walk. You can see some of the landmarks of Kolkata along this route, such as Raj Bhavan, St. John’s Church, Shaheed Minar, Metropolitan Building, etc.
From Park Street: You can walk along Park Street till you reach Jawaharlal Nehru Road (also known as Chowringhee Road) and then turn left towards the museum entrance. This route is about 1 km long and takes about 15 minutes to walk. You can see some of the landmarks of Kolkata along this route, such as Asiatic Society, St. Xavier’s College, Flurys, etc.
From New Market: You can walk along Lindsay Street till you reach S.N. Banerjee Road (also known as Corporation Street) and then turn right towards Jawaharlal Nehru Road (also known as Chowringhee Road). You can then turn left towards the museum entrance. This route is about 1.5 km long and takes about 20 minutes to walk. You can see some of the landmarks of Kolkata along this route, such as New Market, Globe Cinema, Indian Coffee House, etc.
You may also like to read: Reserve Bank of India Museum, Kolkata - Insight into the History of Money
We hope this article helped you to know how to reach the Indian Museum in Kolkata from the Kolkata city center by different ways. You can choose any of these ways according to your convenience and preference. The Indian Museum is a must-visit place for anyone who loves history and culture.
It has so much to offer for everyone. You will be amazed by the variety and quality of the collections and galleries of the museum. You will also learn a lot about India’s past and present through the museum.
So, don’t miss this opportunity to visit one of the most remarkable museums in the world. Book your tickets now and get ready for an unforgettable experience.