The National Museum of India, functioning under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, is located in New Delhi. It houses artworks from pre-historic era to the modern era. Established in the year 1949, the museum holds 200,000 works of art, both of Indian and foreign origin, spanning over for more than 5,000 years.
Some of the fascinating pieces of art housed in the National Museum are –
The Dancing Girl of Harappa
The Dancing Girl of Harappa stands calmly on a fiber platform and is merely 4 inches high. Her most attractive features are her posture, one hand on the hip, the classic bun on the head and an arm full of bangles. The sculpture is made of bronze using the lost wax method of the Indus Valley Civilization. There are only two bronze images recovered from Mohenjo-Daro and the other one is on display at Karachi Museum in Pakistan.
There is a room full of Buddhist sculptures in stone and metal at the National Museum. Relics of Buddha were divided into 8 parts upon Buddha’s Mahaparinirvana. These were the 8 stupas. As per legend, from 7 of these 8 stupas, they were spread to 84,000 stupas by Emperor Ashoka. Many of these stupas were excavated and relics have further been divided. A part of Buddha’s relics is on display at National Museum in Delhi, enshrined in a Thai golden case. Cheap air tickets to Delhi are easily available online, so hop on a flight and explore the museum’s many artworks. If you want a layover in the city for a couple of days, you can easily book Luxury New Delhi hotels and enjoy a comfortable stay.
Ganjifa cards are basically the ancestors of modern-day playing cards, only they were previously hand-made and hand-painted. The cards were made on various mythological themes – ‘Dashavtar’ or the ten incarnations of Vishnu is the most popular.
Nataraja (Chola Bronze Sculpture)
The National Museum has some of the best pieces of Chola Bronzes on display. Its Bronze Gallery, which was recently renovated, has a beautiful display of Nataraja – the most famous image in Chola Bronze.
There are many opulent paintings from Thanjavur and Mysore in South India at the museum. Indian mythology is the recurring theme of these paintings. Shiva as Nataraja and Krishna as butter stealing baby are the most common themes seen on Tanjore Paintings. One of the best paintings is the one that shows the two celebrated marriages from Ancient Indian literature – the Shiva-Parvati Wedding and the Ram-Sita Wedding. Another famous painting is the one depicting the Shiv-Lila – with Nataraja on the top. There are other unusual paintings like that of Vithoba or Panchmukhi Hanuman that are a must-see.
In the Sculpture gallery amidst all stone sculptures, there is a wooden door with carved panels. The panels located on the bottom of the door have worn off with age, but this door is a 14th CE door from Katarmal in Uttar Pradesh, telling stories of life lived in that era.
Ancient Indian Scripts
At the National Museum, you can spot some huge charts that showcase the evolution of various letters over the ages and through various generations of scripts.
If you are an art lover, drop by the museum soon and explore the rich heritage of India and the world over.