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West Bengal Travel


Museums in West Bengal

Indian Museum, Calcutta
The Indian Museum is India's first and oldest museum. Originally part of the Asiatic Society, it opened to public in 1875. Here, in the Bharhut Room, Sunga art is dramatically represented by the railings and gateway that have been reassembled to form the outer wall encompassing a stupa. These are the remains of a Buddhist stupa discovered in 1873 in Bharhut, a village in Madhya Pradesh. Carved in red sandstone, quarried from the Vindhyas, it is believed to be similar in scale and design to the great Sanchi stupa. An inscription on a pillar of the gateway informs us that this was constructed in the 2nd century BC, during the Sunga period.

Central Museum, Calcutta
This is specifically an ethnographic museum and has on view objects and specimens related to the different tribal and other communities of India. The collections on view are especially significant because of the diversity of subjects and material available.

Birla Industrial and Technological Museum, Calcutta
India's first public science museum is the Biria Industrial and Technological Museum, also a constituent unit of the National Council of Science Museums, under the aegis of the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Initiated by Dr BC Roy who foresaw the role of such an institution in a developing country, space was provided by the pioneer industrialist G D Biria who donated his rambling residence and the museum opened to public in 1959.

Birla Planetarium, Calcutta
On view at the Biria Planetarium are exhibits oh astronomy, astrophysics and celestial mechanics.

Industrial Section, Indian Museum, Calcutta
Established in 1887, this Science Museum has on view specimens and exhibits of plants and plant products. There is also an herbarium with a collection of dried plants and the economic ledgers of Dr. George Watts, who did an intensive survey of India's industrial arts, more than a hundred years ago.

Asiatic Society, Calcutta
The renowned Asiatic Society Trust, founded in 1784, displays fine collections of rare illustrated manuscripts, coins and inscriptions. Also on view are paintings and sculpture.

National Library, Calcutta
On view at the National Library are rare books and valuable manuscripts dating to the pre British and Raj period. There are also original letters and notes written by eminent personalities. Also displayed is the Ashutosh Collection with its limited and illuminated " editions dating to the 16th century, manuscripts, rare book jacket covers and paintings which include water colours and paintings on mica.

Birla Academy of Art & Culture, Calcutta
The sculpture collection at the Birla Academy of Art and Culture dates from the 2nd to the 19th century AD. South Indian sculpture, especially from the Chola and Vijayanagara empires, are well represented. Outstanding among these are a granite dancing Ganesha and Shiva as Jnana Dakshinamurti, both 12th century Chola images. From Vijayanagara comes a seated Kali with all eight arms intact. Among the marvellous pieces from Rajasthan are a green limestone bust of Vishnu and three panels in the. same medium showing Ganesha, Krishna and Saraswati among devotees.



Ashutosh Museum of Indian Art, Calcutta
Named after Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, this museum was set up in] 937 by pre independence intellectuals of Bengal to preserve the cultural and historical heritage of the area. On display are basalt sculpture from Pala and Sena periods with its distinctive blend of Hindu and Buddhist styles and sculpted clay panels from temples of Vishnupur region.

Academy of Fine Arts, Calcutta
Named after Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, this museum was set up in] 937 by pre independence intellectuals of Bengal to preserve the cultural and historical heritage of the area. On display are basalt sculpture from Pala and Sena periods with its distinctive blend of Hindu and Buddhist styles and sculpted clay panels from temples of Vishnupur region.

Nehru Children's Museum, Calcutta
The Nehru Children's Museum contains dolls and toys, a science gallery and two other interesting exhibits: the Ramayana depicted in 1500 miniature models in illuminated sets and the Mahabharata, also in 1500 miniature models, in 62 multicoloured and illuminated sets.

Victoria Memorial Museum, Calcutta
The impressive Victoria Memorial houses a museum which is a tribute to the British Colonial period. Visitors are greeted by a life size statue of young Victoria by Sir Thomas Brock. There are enormous oil paintings in the Royal Gallery, illustrating episodes from Queen Victoria's long , eventful life and reign, and a large painting titled The Entry of King Edward VII into Jaipur in 1876, by a Russian artist.

Netaji Museum, Calcutta
The Netaji Museum concentrates on the life and times of Subhash Chandra Bose and his brother Sarat Chandra Bose. Consequently on view are photographs, original letters, manuscripts, documents and films, relating to those stirring times.

Rabindra Bharati Museum, Calcutta
The Rabindra Bharati Museum, established in 1961, displays paintings by the Tagores and other artists of the Bengal School. There are also original manuscripts written by Rabindranath and other members of his family, photographs, books, journals and writings by distinguished literary personalities of the 19th century.

Rabindra Bhavan, Shantiniketan
The Tagore residence set within lush gardens houses paintings, manuscripts, letters and personal mementoes of Rabindranath Tagore. There are also collections of photographs and newspaper clippings. The voice records and films available depict the life, times and thoughts of Rabindranath.

Nandan Museum, Shantiniketan
The Nandan Museum has rich collection of original paintings by the Tagores: Rabindranath, Abanindranath, Gaganendranath and other artists from the Bengal school: Nandaial Bose, Binod Behari Mukherjee and Ram Kinkar. Also on view are terracotta panels and images from Bengal, folk and tribal bronzes, Kalighalpatas. Besides these there are collections of Chinese and Japanese scroll paintings.

Museum and Art Gallery, Chandernagar
Established in 1952, this museum :reates the role of the French in dia. On view are valuable docu-;nts, weapons, furniture and other ,scellaneous objects. Also displayed E photographs, paintings, terracotta, sculpture and other antiquities.

Natural History Museum, Darjeeling
The Natural History Museum, estab-.shed in 1903, has a variety of pecimens on view like butterflies, tufted birds, bird eggs, species of eptiles and amphibia, fish, insects and ither invertebrates. The herbarium has vide range of dried plants on display.





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