Anyone with the smallest curiosity of India, its history, and with anything old enough to be in a museum shouldn’t miss a chance to visit the Indian Museum in India in the city of Kolkata. This museum is the largest museum in India, the oldest museum in the Asia Pacific region, and the ninth oldest regular museum in the world. Founded by the Danish botanist Dr. Nathaniel Wallich in 1814, it was originally located at the premises of the Asiatic Society. Since 1878, it has moved to its present location, a majestic mansion at Jawaharlal Nehru Road, around the corner of Sudder Street.
From two galleries in 1878, the Indian Museum has grown to over sixty galleries encompassing the various disciplines of Art, Archeology, Anthropology, Botany, Geology, and Zoology. The museum is a ten thousand square foot area of heaven with more than a million artifacts on exhibit for those who are into history, culture and art. In just one place, one can see dinosaur and mammoth skeletons, an Egyptian mummy that’s 4000 years old, Shah Jahan’s emerald goblet, the Buddhist stupa from Bharhut, an urn that is said to contain the ashes of Buddha, a meteorite collection, and other very rare antiques and art pieces. No wonder that the locals call it Jadu Ghar, which means, the House of Magic.
For a nominal fee, students are permitted to sketch the objects displayed in the galleries. Other visitors can take photographs though the use of additional lighting and flash is prohibited. The use of a tripod is allowed but one will have to pay a higher fee. Those who forgot to bring their cameras can avail of the services of the museum’s photo unit. For other souvenirs, there is the bookstore where plaster replicas of some displayed objects are being sold.