7 Must-See Museums in Delhi

Created by Harsh Sonawala,

Last Updated on September 30, 2020

Apart from its historical sights, there’s some must-see museums in Delhi that are fun visit. For a small fee, or entirely free, you can take your pick of the capital’s treasures which are historical, breath-taking, or downright absurd.

From modern art to ancient sculptures, regional handicrafts to the history of toilets – go through our list of 7 must-see museums in Delhi. Are you already planning a trip? Our guide on getting around in Delhi is sure to help as well!

India National Museum Center (Photo Credit – Gary Todd)

The one stop shop: National Museum

The National Museum is a must if you want to explore the popular museums in Delhi. For anyone interested in the richness of Indian history and culture would have a ball here. Tracing India’s history over the past 5000 years is a great experience. Further, this place is practically crammed with artifacts.

The museum doesn’t interpret the story of Indian culture divided by linear time. Instead, they have an interesting attitude of dividing their exhibits by theme. Star exhibits include Gautama Buddha’s personal effects and a suit of armour crafted for an elephant.

Timing: 10:00 hrs to 18:00 hrs

Fees: INR 650 for foreigners (this includes an audio guide, available in English, German and French, that covers over an hour of information on the collections)

Amazing collection of Indian artifacts (Photo Credit – Alia K)

The mind candy: National Gallery of Modern Art

The brain-child of Jawaharlal Nehru, this famous museum in Delhi is the place to understand Indian art. This is one of the largest collections of modern works, both visual and plastic. It has over 14,000 works on display for instance.

Yet again, you get to witness the development of a culture, because the collection includes big names like Rabindranath Tagore and Amrita Sher-Gill.

Make sure to see the ‘Company Paintings’ done by Indian artists to the tastes of their British paymasters. Also, look for the freestanding structures of giant stainless steel buckets pouring out a river of household utensils.

National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) (Credit_Tracy Hunter)

The Full Experience: Crafts Museum

Ditch the staid old buildings and explore this crafts museum in New Delhi instead. This is known for keeping alive the old crafts of mithila wall painting, khadi textile looms, ornate temple carvings, and even an intricately decorated Gujarati haveli.

This museum holds the promise of hands-on learning, dozens of photo opportunities, and heavy shopping bags from the artisan courtyard in the back.

Delhi’s Crafts Museum (Photo Credit – chopr)

If craft and architecture interests you, get ready to be blown away by some of the most spectacular temples in India. Here are a few must-visit temples when in India.

The worthy cause: Sulabh international museum of toilets

You didn’t think we had it in us, did you? The Sulabh NGO, which works to address India’s sanitation issues, has created this museum. Dividing the history of the WC into three stages.

It follows the story of the humble porcelain bowl in a way previously unseen. Walk down this interesting history with ornamental engravings, functional plastic, and noxious effluent pits.

Hanging out with other people’s toilets has never been this much fun! However, if you prefer the bizarre over the ordinary, then this is one of the museums in Delhi to tick off your list.

inside-view-sulabh-toilet-museum A display of toilets and sanitation

The political affair: Nehru memorial museum

Great to visit if you’re looking for political history museums in Delhi. This museum was established in the memory of Jawaharlal Nehru, a freedom fighter and the first Prime Minister of India.

Wander around his personal rooms that have been preserved for decades by the museum. Watch his personal life unfold in the backdrop of a complex, bloody, and tension-fraught freedom struggle.

Learn about his education to become the first Prime Minister in his erstwhile residence at Teen Murti Bhavan. Further, excerpts from his greatest speeches are literally carved into stone on the front.

Jawarhalal Nehru’s official residence as Prime Minister (Photo Credit – Mat Booth)

The journey through times: National Rail Museum

The National Rail Museum is one of the best museums in Delhi because It showcases some gorgeous bogeys along with our rich railway history. The railways have always been a complex, common, and grand mode of transport in India.

At one point, they were the only mode of comfortable long-distance travel. From big names to minor royals, it was the rage for every royal to have a bogey of their own. They would deck their bogeys in full regal swag and made them a grand sight to behold.

This includes the Viceregal’s Dining Car and the Majarajah of Mysore’s Rolling Saloon. The museum also has some exciting memorabilia, like the skull of an elephant that charged the UP mail in 1894. Furthermore, you can take a joy ride on one of the various simulators.

National Railway Museum New Delhi (Photo credit – Klaus Nahr)

Here are a few rail routes that you can actually undertake during your trip to India.

The old guard: National Police Museum

Tip your hat to these gallant men and women by celebrating their story. The museum displays an array of weapons, evidence and visuals.

Each of these tells tales of detective methodology, forensic technology, and tantalizing crimes. Check out changing uniforms, protective gear, and the development of the identity of our state force.

Learn about the history and progression of the police at the National Police Museum

If you want to know more about Delhi, here is our list of things to do in Delhi.

Our list of 7 must-see museums in Delhi is only one of the several reasons you must visit our capital. From amazing food to rich history, Delhi has loads to see and do. It can also be combined with other destinations like Dharamshala and Rajasthan! Curious? Hit that Plan Your Trip button and let’s get started!

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