Museums of Himachal Pradesh
India is famous for its rich cultural heritage and glorious past. To make people conversant with the rich culture of India, many art galleries and museums have been built. These museums and art galleries showcase traditions, social practices, lifestyles and various customs of specific time period. Himachal Pradesh, a famous hub for the tourists and the history enthusiasts, has got many museums and art galleries.
When locals and/or tourists explore these museums and art galleries then they get the feel of culture and traditions of Himachal Pradesh, a place that is a preferred vacation destination of thousands of people all over the world and has got very old association with the eras of Vedas and Puranas. Here in this article, you will get information about various museums and art galleries of museums of Himachal Pradesh.
Popular Museums of Himachal Pradesh
Museums of Himachal Pradesh take the viewers on a journey of history. Visitors get to see weapons, dresses, jewelries, handicrafts, furniture, seals, utensils and many other items that were used by the rulers of different dynasties who had ruled various regions of Himachal Pradesh.
Shimla State Museum
Established in 1974, Shimla State Museum
attracts visitors with its outward appearance which is highly influenced by the colonial architecture. The museum is located on a hilltop and visitors need to trek a considerable distance to look at all the exhibits of this museum. The museum attracts visitors with its rich collection of coins, numerous miniature paintings of Pahari style and many anthropological items. Beautifully carved sculptures made of stones, bronze statues, weapons of yesteryear and varieties of dolls make the collection of this museum very attractive to the visitors.
Bronze idols that are exhibited here have been collected from various temples of the Himalayan Region. Many oil paintings and masks of deities from various parts of Himachal Pradesh are also kept here. Visitors can get to know more about Mahatma Gandhi as there is a separate room dedicated to our “Father of the Nation”. The library of this state museum houses many historical books and ancient manuscripts.
Shimla State Museum is located at Chaura Maidan in Shimla. The museum remains opened from 10AM – 1:30 PM and again from 2 PM – 5 PM on all days of the week except Mondays. The museum remains closed on 2nd Saturday of every month and on the public holidays.
Army Heritage Museum Shimla
Located near Annandale, Shimla Army Heritage Museum
is a popular tourist attraction that takes the visitors on an interesting tour of history and achievement of Indian History. This state-of-the-art museum of Shimla has numerous types of collectibles associated with Indian Army.
This museum which has been divided into various categories provides extensive information about Indian Army. Visitors of this heritage museum feel motivated when they get to know about the great leaders of pre-independence and post-independence era of India. Visitors also get to know about development and evolution of weapons and arms in one of the sections of this museum located in Shimla.
The museum is located at Annandale near the famous location Ridge
. The timings of this museum are from 10 AM – 2 PM and again from 3 PM - 5 PM. It remains closed on all public holidays and Mondays.
Keylong Museum is one of the important attractions of Keylong. It is also known as the Tribal Museum as it has many items that depict the traditions of natives of Lahaul and Spiti Region. This museum was opened in 2008 by the Art & Culture Department of the State Government.
It has rich collection of different types of masks used for dances, traditional dresses, stone utensils, hand woven carpets, items collected from different Gompas and different types of household items. The museum also has very old Thangka Paintings. Manuscripts written in Tankri and Bhoti scripts are also kept here.
The museum remains opened from 10 AM – 5 PM on all days of the week except the Mondays and public holidays.
Kangra Art Museum
Kangra Art Museum is located in the shopping center of Kangra the Kotwali Bazaar. The museum was opened for the public in the year 1990. The museum has become a major attraction of Kangra for its rich collection of craft works, dresses, art works and many other types of items. Visitors get to see many types of ancient manuscripts, coins, tents, sculptures, pottery items and jewelries of royal families. Many items kept in this museum are dated back to 5th Century AD.
The museum houses a library too. This library houses works of photographers, sculptors, and artists right from the past to the present. The famous Pahari Miniature paintings that are known for its vibrant color usage and impressive figures are also stored here. The colors that are used in these paintings are organic which are prepared from dried herbs and flowers.
The museum remains opened on all days of the week except on Mondays and public holidays.
Baba Bhalku MuseumBaba Bhalku Museum
is one of its kind museums of Himachal Pradesh. It is an exclusive rail museum and has been established in the memory of Sage Bhalku, a local sage of Shimla. He had helped the engineers in finding out the right alignment of railway line between Shimla and Kalka during its construction.
This museum is located near Inter State Bus Terminus of Shimla and is opened on all days of week from 9:30 AM – 5:30. The museum remains closed from on all Mondays and the public holidays.
Bhuri Singh Museum
This museum was established in the year 1908 and was named after King Bhuri Singh, the ruler of Chamba. The museum is known for its rich collection of miniature paintings from Basohli, Chamba, and Kangra School of paintings. The museum also has collection of beautiful wood carvings, embroidered dresses, handkerchiefs and scarves, arms and weapons, carved fountain slabs, inscriptions carved on copper plates. For all the exhibits there are labels written in English.
Initially the museum had all the works donated by Raja Bhuri Singh but with time the museum had many other items like inscriptions of medieval India, carved wooden doors, frescos etc. Many old inscriptions e.g. Devi-ri-Kothi, Prasastis of Sarahan, Mul Kihar that belonged to medieval India were written in Sarda script and had scenes from Purana and other epics of India. Weapons, coins and varieties of musical instruments are also exhibited in this museum.
The museum remains opened from 10 AM - 5 PM on all days of week except Mondays and public holidays. The entry fee for the museum is Rs. 20/- (for the Indians) and Rs. 100/- (for the foreigners). The camera fee is Rs. 50 (for the Indians) and Rs. 100 (for the foreigners).
Uruswati Himalayan Folk & Art Museum
This famous Folk and Art Museum
located at Naggar
was established in 1928 by the wife of famous Russian Artist Nicholas Roerich. The museum has beautiful located that is surrounded by tall deodar trees. The museum has huge collection of many specimens of local arts and paintings of Nicholas Roerich and his students. The museum also has books and postcards about Nicholas Roerich which visitors can buy at the sales counter of the museum.
The museum is located just 100 m above the famous art gallery of Nicholas Roerich. The museum has wooden frames, famous quotations, crystal utensils and showpieces. Dolls, musical instruments, oil paintings, painted dishes etc. from Russia also make the collection of this museum very rich. This museum also has many idols of Hindu deities.
The museum remains opened from 9 AM – 1 PM and then from 2 PM - 5 PM. The entry fee is Rs. 10.
Losel Doll Museum
This one-of-its-kinds museum has a collection of about 150 dolls that illustrate the culture and traditions of Himachal, Tibet and surrounding areas through their dresses and appearances. The daily life, festivals and social practices of this region are also showcased through these dolls. These dolls were created by the monks living at Drepung Loseling Monastery. Visitors can buy replicas of these dolls as souvenirs.
Losel Doll Museum is located about 33 KM away from Palampur in Dharamsala at Norbulingka Institute of Tibetan Culture. The entry fee is Rs. 5/Indian Citizen and Rs. 20/foreign Citizen. The museum remains opened from 9.30 AM – 5.30 AM on all days of the week.
Art Galleries of Himachal Pradesh
Art Galleries of Himachal Pradesh has rich collection of varieties of paintings, craft works and other types of art work of the entire Himachal Regions. Right from the works of traditional artists to the contemporary arts and crafts created by the artists of the recent time, these art galleries have them all. Visitors get to know about the Himachal Region through these paintings.
Art Gallery of Nicholas Roerich
Located at Naggar in Kullu
District, the Art Gallery of Nicholas Roerich, the world famous Russian painter, is an important tourist attraction. Earlier the building was the residential place of Nicholas Roerich and his family which was later on transformed into an art gallery by daughter-in-law of Nicholas Roerich in 1945.
Apart from paintings done by Nicholas Roerich and his disciples, there are many other items like wooden idols, stone idols, traditional Himachali dresses, miniature Pahari Paintings etc. are exhibited in this museum.
The museum remains opened on all days of the week except on Mondays and public holidays. The timing of the museum is from 10 AM – 5 PM and entry fee is Rs. 30/- per person.
Sobha Singh Art Gallery
Located about 12 KM away from Palampur in Kangra, Sobha Singh Art Gallery has been established in a cottage that was owned by Sobha Singh, the renowned contemporary painter of Punjab. This art gallery has many works of this world famous artist.
Many of his paintings are focused on the Sikh Gurus. Some other famous works preserved at this art gallery are paintings of Sohni-Mahiwal, Heer Ranjha, Mahatma Ganndhi, Sahid Bhagat Singh, Lal Bahadur Shashtri, Lord Rama, Sheikh Farid, Jesus Christ and Lord Krishna.
Naam Art Gallery
Naam Art Gallery exhibits the works of A.W. Hallett and Elizabeth Buschmann. The paintings done in watercolors, acrylics and oil paints mesmerize the visitors and keep them captivated for hours. Visitors can buy some of the art prints at budgeted price at the sales counter of this museum. Naam Art Gallery is located at Chamunda Road at Sidhbari , Mcleodganj in Dharamsala.
Timing of this art gallery is from 10 AM - 7 PM on all days of the week except public holidays and Mondays. The entry fee is Rs. 10 per person.
Tibetan Work and Archives Library
Tibetan Work and Archives Library boast varieties of artifacts that showcase Tibetan culture, rituals and social practices. The library has documents, statues, ancient manuscripts, books and numerous thangkas. The prime aim of this library is to preserve the culture and tradition of Tibet and spread it throughout the world. The library also has many historical items and more than six thousand photographs associated with Tibetan culture and heritage.
The library remains open from 9 AM to 5 PM and has become a great place for the students and scholars.