Indian Museum housed in an old colonial building, Kolkata - a fascinating place for tourists!!

 The Indian Museum in the busy part of Kolkata (Calcutta) is  locally called  Jadu Ghar, the House of Magic. It is the oldest and the largest museum in India  that came up in the early part of the colonial rule under the East India company.

Courtyard, India museum, Kolkata.

208 year old India museum, Kolkata.

1814 CE.Indian Museum, Kolkata, WB

Located on the busy Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Calcutta, on display here are a vast collection of exhibits covering various fields and subjects - fossils, skeletons, mummies, old coins, and Mughal Paintings antiques, jewelry, mummies, etc.  The building is a fine-looking structure that was built  in 1814 when the corrupt English company was in their pinnacle of power in pursuit of lands owned by Maharajahs and Nawabs to grab them for their commercial exploitation.

1904 CE Indian museum, Kolkata

What is special about this unique building is its rich European design that imparts  a colonnaded palace  set in the midst of a well-kept   lawn.  It is a colonnaded Italianate building  with provision for many galleries.  The British architect was  Walter Granville who also designed other structures in Kolkata like the  Calcutta High Court and  General Post Office building. Granville  designs were more toward imposing Neoclassical-style, hence these buildings stand out among the modern concrete jungle in Kolkata.

Indian Museum, Kolkata.

It was the members of the the Asiatic Society  (founded in 1784) like William Jones and others   in 1796 came up with the idea of  establishing a Museum in a suitable place in the city that would be beneficial to the people. It involved  hard work,  collection, reception, preservation, categorization  and exhibition of  unique objects that would be instructive and educative. But their innovative idea had begun to make upward mobility in the early 1808 and by that time the ''AS'' was,  on its own, in a position to have a building contracted. The building came up on  a land at the corner of Park Street on a plot of land granted by the Government.

Sir William jones, Asiatic society of Bengal , Kolkata

wooly mammals, Kolkata museum,

After several years the society members saw a spurt in the activities over the  establishment of . The man who gave impetus and direction was one   Dr Nathanial Wallich, a Danish botanist who had been confined to Serampur, a Danish settlement  near kolkata for some political reason. As promised by him he not only joined the  proposed museum as an  honorary curator but was also willing to   donate duplicates from his own valuable collection. On 2 February 1814 at the Asiatic Society the museum was temporarily established with Wallich as the Honorary Curator. Concurrently he became the  Honorary Curator of the Oriental Museum of the Asiatic Society.

Unicorn Indus valley seal.India museum, Kolkata.

Fossil gallery, India museum, Kolkata.

In front of  the Small Cause Court in  Chowringhee in 1867 the foundation stone was laid. Because of financial constraints, etc., the completion of the building  got delayed and opened to public only  on 1 April 1878.  In 1867 the foundation of the present building of the Indian Museum was laid on the finest site of Chowringhee in front of the Small Cause Court, which was completed in 1875. From 1814 to 1878 the museum was housed in the premises of the Asiatic Society of Bengal  on Park Street and after the completion of the construction of the new building, it was shifted from the said premises of the Asiatic Society to the present building. It opened its gates to the public with two galleries on 1 April 1878.  Earlier since 1814 the museum had been functioning on the premises  of  the Asiatic Society building on Park street.

Asiatic society of Bengal old

Indian museum, Kolkata. dinosaur from Telengana.

,4000 year old mummies.

The exhibits in the colonnaded  old building has as many as 35 galleries covering a wide spectrum of subjects - scientific and  cultural.  The sections include Art,  Archaeology,  Anthropology, Geology, Zoology and Economic Botany, with a number of galleries under each section.  The collections that are worth mentioning are outstanding exhibits from the 2,500 BC Indus Valley Civilization, the superbly sculpted railings from the 2,000-year old Bharhut Stupa,  vast collection of fossils from  the Siwalik  formation of the Himalayas. Also included are  numerous  miniature paintings, ivory, glass and silverwares, etc., besides   mammoth skeletons  (wooly elephants of north America), a fine collection of 5th century Gupta coins,  the stuffed birds from British zoological expeditions,  4,000-year-old Egyptian mummies etc. The museum has a rare collection of   over 50,000 old coins covering various periods. The list goes on without a break.,_Kolkata