Few Artefacts from the National Museum, Delhi

The National Museum in Delhi is a treasure trove, and anyone who loves history need just take a look around to vouch for this sentiment. The Museum houses almost 2,00,000 artifacts of various kinds, that cover a time span of more than five thousand years in the context of Indian heritage, both archaeological and cultural.

The Museum had an interesting beginning. An exhibition of selected Indian artefacts organized by the Royal Academy took place in the Burlington House (London) in 1947-48. Thereafter, it was decided that the same collection would be exhibited in the Rashtrapati Bhawan in Delhi, before returning the objects to their respective owners and museums. In 1949 the exhibition was organized, which was a huge success, thereby paving way for building a museum in Delhi, a blueprint for which was already prepared back in 1946 by the Maurice Gwyer Committee. The different state governments, museum authorities, and various private donors who had loaned the artefacts for this exhibition were requested to gift or loan the objects, which were met with positive responses from most. The National Museum was formally inaugurated on 15th August 1949 by Shri R.C. Rajagopalachari, the then Governor-General of India, and the foundation stone for the building was laid in 1955.

In this post I will share few photographs of artefacts that are displayed on the outer courtyard on the way to the main entrance door, the front entry hall, the corridor, and the round inner courtyard. This will be the ground floor, and my photos will cover about 60- 70 % of the artifacts displayed in just these spaces. Beyond that there are the numerous rooms on the ground floor serving as galleries, and the upper storeys, all with their own galleries and corridors that are not covered here.

 

Outer courtyard leading to the entrance way

 

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Gupta period temple panel from Sultangarhi site (6th century CE)
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Gupta period temple panel showing a kirtimukha, recovered from Sultangarhi site (6th century CE). These are kept outside now; and how I wish they were better kept with their importance pointed out to the viewers. These panels are among the earliest remnants and evidences of temples in Delhi, and they surely need better highlighting and display. 
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Would have adorned some pillars in a temple
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The same pillar in the photo above, when viewed from the back side.
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Veerbhadra, Vijaynagara, 16th century CE
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Nataraja, South India, 19th century
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Kali, South India, 19th century CE
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Mandapa pillar, Vijaynagara, 15th c. CE
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Kartikeya/Murugan/Skanda, South India  (Photo credit: Nirdesh Singh)

The  Entrance Hall

 

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Shiva Vamana, Vakataka, 5th c. CE, Maharashtra
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Saraswati, Chahamana, 12th c. CE, Pallu, Rajasthan
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Trivikrama, Pratihara, 11th c. CE, Kashipur- UP
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Lakshmi-Narayana, 11th C. CE, Chandella, Khajuraho, MP
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Parvati, 11th c. CE, Pratihara, Baijnath-Himachal Pradesh
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Surya from Konark, 13th c. CE, Eastern Ganga dynasty. The smile on his lips captivates the heart. I absolutely adore him standing at the entrance way and welcoming me every time I go. 
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Lion capital, 7th c. CE, Vardhana,  Gwalior- MP
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Flying celestials (Apsara and Gandharva), Chalukya, 7th c. CE, Aihole – Karnataka

 

The Ground Floor Corridors

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Surasundari, Pratihara, 10th c. CE, Chittorgarh – Rajasthan
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Vishnu,7th c. CE, Chalukya, Aihole- Karnataka
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Martanda, an aspect of Surya. Gahadavala, 12th c. CE, Rajasthan
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Vishnu, Pratihara, 8th c. CE, North India
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Parvati, Pala, 11th c. CE, Bengal
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Lintel showing Hara-Gauri, 8th c. CE, Pratihara, Abhaneri- Rajasthan

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Devotees worshiping Shiva-linga, 11th-12th c. CE, Chandella, Khajuraho-MP
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Devi Ganga on doorjamb, 12th c. CE
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Krittika (Matrika), 6th c. CE, Thansewar, Rajasthan
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Couple, 11th c. CE, Gwalior -MP
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Yaksha, 4th c. CE, Vakataka, Mumbai
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Yaksha: Patravahaka
2nd Century BCE, Satavahana, Maharasthtra
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Buddha head in buff Chunar sandstone, Sarnath, 5th c. CE, Gupta 
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Vajra Tara, 10th c. CE, Sarnath
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Crowned Buddha and Astamahpratiharya scenes, 12th c. CE, Pala, Bengal
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Pashupati seal (proto-Shiva), Harappan civilisation, 2700 BCE 
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Jain Ayagapatta, 2nd c. CE, Kushana, Kankali tila, Mathura
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Buddha, Sarnath, 5th c. CE, Gupta
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Dancing girl, Harappan civilisation, 2700-2100 BCE
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Vishnu, 7th c. CE, Pallava, South India
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Bust of a king, Egypt, 1552-715 BCE
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Saptamatrikas, 9th c. CE, Pratiharas, UP
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GajaYali, 13th c. CE, Odisha
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Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh, 15th-16th c. CE, Arthuna, Rajasthan
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Sridevi, Vijaynagara, 16th c. CE
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Surya, 12th c. CE, Pala
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Uma Maheswara, Pala, 9th-10th c. CE
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Simha with warriors, 13th c. CE, Odisha
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Kalyanasundara murti, 10th c. CE, Pala, Bihar
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Agni, 10th c. CE, Pratihara, UP
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Hari-Hara, 5th c. CE, Gupta, MP
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Dwarapala, 5th c. CE, Gupta, Nachna-Kuthara, MP
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Mother and child, Kushana, 2nd c. CE, Mathura
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Yamuna, 8th c. CE, MP
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Saptamatrika, Pratihara, 10th c. CE, North India
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Garuda, 10th c. CE, Pratihara, Pallu-Rajasthan
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Vishnu, 11th c. CE, Pala, Bengal
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Uma Maheswara, 9th-10th c. CE, Pratihara, North India
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Vishnu, 11th c. CE, Pala, Bengal 
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Vishnu, 11th c. CE, Pala, Bengal
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Ranganatha, 16th c. CE, Vijaynagara
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Parvati, 11th c. CE, Pala, Bengal
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Lady with a mirror applying sindoor, 10th c. CE, Pratihara, Gwalior-MP
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Chamunda, 11th-12th c. CE, Sena, Eastern India
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Hanuman, 18th c. CE, North India
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Lintel showing Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu, 12th c. CE, Kakatiya, Warangal
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Vishnu, 11th c. CE, Pala, Eastern India

Inner courtyard

 

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Jaina tirthankara, 10th c. CE, Pallava-Chola
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Vishnu, 11th c. CE, Chola
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Nandi, 8th c. CE, Pallava
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Vishnu, 7th-8th c. CE, Pallava
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Vishnu, 12th- 13th c. CE, Chola
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Lion pillar base, 7th c. CE, Pallava
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Vishnu, 15th c. CE, Vijaynagara

While visiting the museum do keep in mind that

  • Museum remains open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM (Monday Closed)
  • Entry Fee:
    An Adult Ticket costs Rs. 20 (for Indians) and Rs. 650 for Foreigners (including Audio Guide)
    Students up till class 12 have free entry ticket (with I-cards)
  • Cameras (not for videography) are allowed, and no extra fees are charged for it
  • Artefacts are often moved around amongst the numerous galleries, so the location of the objects shown here may have changed when you visit the museum.

 

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