Museums & Art Galleries

The culture and heritage of India is very rich. Its glorious past and its gradual steps to the present, have led to the construction of a large number of Museums and Art Galleries, where the ancient legacy of the country is preserved. The Museums and Art Galleries gives one an idea of the traditions, lifestyles, dresses, customs and other facts prevalent in ancient India. In fact, the best way to know more about a country or state is by exploring its museums.

The land of Himachal Pradesh is dotted with a large number of Museums and Art Galleries. This is, in fact, the main attraction of the state. The different types of museums represent the glory of the ancient period of the state. The Art Galleries are a treasure trove of a large collection of Pahari paintings, rare paintings, traditional handicraft, local jewelry, age-old coins, antique wooden carvings and stone sculptures, arms and amours, and a number of other witnesses of the magnificent past of Himachal. These are a perfect reminder the history of the place.

A visit to these museums not only adds to the knowledge of history and culture, but also provides the opportunity to analyze and understand the customs and faiths prevalent in the society, and the gradual path of progress of this state. With great care and sincerity, the rich cultural and historical heritage of the country and the state is preserved in these Museums and Art Galleries which also takes enough care to make sure that the time that is passing does not hamper the historical legacy. These Art Galleries and Museums give a detailed idea as to how the past has made contributions in its own way and paved the way to the present Himachal Pradesh.

Famous Art Galleries and Museums

State Museum of Shimla

State Museum of Shimla was established in the year 1974. This museum in Inveraram, a characteristic colonial construction, takes up a bit of energy to reach, as it is located on top of a hill, i.e., the trek of 1500 m. is worthy because, the large compilation of about 2000 exquisite items will give a warm welcome and erase the memory of the journey. From historical ancient sculptures to paintings, from coins to photos: numerous articles from all over the state in addition to other states are on display here. The most interesting item is the collection of miniature paintings of Pahari, the last of its kind, developed in the north of India before it went under the dominion of the British. The library preserves a huge collection of manuscripts and historical books.

The Museum is operational from morning 10 am till 1.30 pm in the afternoon, and after a short lunch it is again opened from 2 pm to 5 pm every day. It is closed on Mondays and 2nd Saturday of a month.

Art Gallery of Kangra

Located in Kotwali Bazaar which is the main shopping hub of Dharamshala, this gallery was started in 1990 and has a huge collection of pottery, sculptures and many anthropological items. Besides, woodcarvings, embroidered costumes, tribal people’s  jewelleries in addition to ‘shamianas’ used by the local monarchs, pandals, lintels and jalis are all on display. The artifacts of modern photographers and artists are also highlighted in a section of this gallery. Apart from the art gallery, campus also contains a library.

The art gallery is open from 10 in the morning to 5 in the evening every day.

Bhuri Singh Museum

Having the name of the Chamba ruler who was in command of the region from the year 1904 to the year 1919, this museum was inaugurated in the year 1908. But, the current building which houses the museum was built in 1975. The Bhuri Singh’s family paintings, embroidered rumaals(handkerchiefs) of Chamba, hill jewellery, coins and both traditional and royal costumes, musical instruments, arms and armour and numerous attractive objects are all on display in this museum. The rumaals or handkerchiefs of Chamba are particularly interesting because they were designed by the painters who are fro mountains or pahari painters but they were embroidered by the ladies of the household. Carved doors that belong to frescoes and old palaces are also preserved here.

The museum is opened for visitors from 10 am, morning to 5 pm, evening every day except Mondays and National holidays.

Art Gallery of Nicholas Roerich

The Roerich Art Gallery situated in Naggar, in the district of Kullu, Himachal Pradesh and has got its name from the Russian who chose to live forever at Naggar, past the revolution that took place in the year 1917. The art gallery displays the fantastic art works done by him and his son. His paintings contain depictions of mountains. The gallery also houses photographs of him posing with esteemed visiting celebrities like late former Indian Prime Minister , Sri J. L. Nehru.

The museum is opened for visitors from 9 am, morning to 5 pm, in the evening, except the lunch hour that is from 1 to 2 pm, afternoon. Minimal amount of rupees 10 as entry fee is charged per visitor at the entrance gate.

Uruswati Himalayan Folk and Art Museum

The Uruswati Himalayan Folk Art Museum is located at a small distance from the Art Gallery of Nicholas Roerich, on the Roerich estate. The museum is beautified with deodar trees all around it. Founded by Madame Nicholas Roerich in the year 1928, it displays a fairly decent collection of costumes, local folk art, Roerich and his Russian disciple’s paintings, along with folk art of Russians featured in a small gallery. Postcards and some books on the life and works of Roerich are available at a sales counter for those who are interested to know more about this painter.

The assortment of the museum may not be interesting to many, but even the uninspired should not miss the chance to enjoy the museum walk through the serenity in the ambience.

The museum is open from 9 am, in the morning to 1 pm, in the evening and again from 2 to 5 pm, in the evening. Minimal amount of rupees 10 as entry fee is charged per visitor at the entrance gate.

Tibetan Work and Archives’ Library

The dream of the His sanctity the fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tibet led to the establishment of the Library of Tibetan Work and Archives.  Situated within the boundaries of the compound of Government-in-Exile, Tibet in McLeodGanj in Dharamshala, it preserves 80,000 manuscripts, documents and books, statues, hundreds of thangkas and other artifacts that include 6,000 photographs and historical materials.

Its main aim is to preserve the culture of Tibet and to help in spreading it. Besides this, it has the target of creating a favourable environment for free and uninhibited exchange of knowledge without any limitations between scholars and students.

The library’s timings vary depending on the time and season of the year. Usually the library is operational for use of general public from morning 9 to evening 5.30 during the month of April to September and, from 9 to 5 pm, in the evening during winters that is from October to March.

Art Gallery of Sobha Singh

Award winning painter and artist, Shobha Singh, who is known by all over the country, had a cottage which is housing this museum. He is the proud receiver of the Padma Shri title, in addition to the highest award offered by Punjab’s art council. His remarkable paintings of Sri Krishna, Sikh Gurus, Sheikh Farid, Sri Rama and Jesus Christ are all displayed in this museum.

Keylong Museum

This museum of Tribal Art along with an auditorium not only preserves archeological finds but also displays Thanka Paintings, objects that were needed every day before the modernization of mechanized equipments was achieved in the state. The museum also houses rare manuscripts which are in Bhoti Scripts and Thankri documents. There is an auditorium for hosting cultural events in this museum which is under the control of Department of Language Art & Culture.

It is open for general public between 10:00 AM to 05:00PM every day except Tuesdays.

A small museum of artifacts has been established at Kyuling (Spiti) by the sect of the noon of Spiti which was once ruled by the Wazir under the nominal British control before Independence.

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museums and art-galleries
museums and art-galleries
museums and art-galleries

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