Museums in Uttar Pradesh
It is a well-known fact that Uttar Pradesh
is the state with towns and cities that have been defined and shaped by architectural wonders of every civilization and culture that has passed through it in previous centuries.
Some of India’s oldest, historical and culturally influenced cities are in Uttar Pradesh. The mausoleums, forts and palaces that are generously dotted around the state’s landscape are all etched in the vibrant culture of the state and speak for themselves. In that sense, every city from Agra to Fatehpur Sikri, Allahabad to Ferozabad, Lucknow to Varanasi, Mathura to Ayodhya, is the pride of the state and the country to a great extent. Places like Sarnath, Kushinagar, Jaunpur,
Most of these cities and towns host museums that are rich repositories of past historical artefacts, crafts, painting, sculptures and many more; these displays are not just mementos of culture and history but also throw much valuable light on the skills and capabilities of the state’s artists and craftspeople.
This is one of the most well maintained museums in India with catalogued sections and separate galleries devoted to specific collections of prized items such as art, paintings, rare manuscripts, sculptures, coins, seals, textiles, etc. depicting the richness of civilization from the pre-historic days. The value and antiquity of these exhibits speak volumes about their historical and archaeological importance and relevance. Some of the personal effects and documents housed here were by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of free India.Open for visitors Tuesday to Sunday.
Location: within the historic Alfred Park, Kamala Nehru Road, Allahabad
Taj Mahal Museum in Agra
The Taj itself is India’s ‘crowning glory’. The museum here displays the elaborate constructions plans, the accuracy and levels of precision maintained by artisans centuries earlier along with an amazing line-up of objects and pieces that are invaluable treasures. The highlight of the museum is the ‘celadon’ plates and crockery that may have been used in the royal palaces of the Mughals. Celadon is the term used to describe the glaze of the ceramic that is used after making pottery or stone-craft of various shapes. It is believed that the unique aspect of this ceramic is its ability to change colour or break if poisonous food was served on them.Visiting hours: 0600 to 1900 hrs on weekdays except Fridays
Location: inside the Taj Mahal complex, Agra
The 1857 Memorial Museum in Lucknow
The Revolt of 1857 is widely referred to as the ‘first war of Indian Independence’. Lucknow was one of the key centres of this revolt against British Rule. The memorial museum is a preservation of the lasting legacy of the revolt against colonial rule and contains paintings, bronze artefacts, paintings, lithographs and records of events of the 1857 Uprising alongside displays of arms and ammunition, some of which are very rare like swords and musketing canons that were used in the fight. The exhibits are arranged sequentially and chronologically.Visiting hours – 10.00 am to 5.00 am Tuesday to Sunday
Location: Residency, Lucknow – contact the Archaeological Survey of India Office
Ram Nagar Fort and Museum in Varanasi
This attractive and well maintained 18th century construction was the home of the Maharaja of Benaras. The objects stored and displayed here are priceless artefacts of royal heritage. The exquisite pieces of ivory, royal palanquins, vintage cars and a wide collection of old guns and ammunition have been preserved well and throw light on the royal family’s lifestyle that still continues to be present in the fort and palace; the current scion of the Kashi royal family lives here.
Visiting hours – 10.00 am to 12.00 noon and 2.00 pm to 4.30 pm on all days of the week
Location: opposite bank of the river Ganga from the ghats, Varanasi
Government Museum in Mathura
Established in the year 1874 as the Lord Curzon Museum of Archaeology, this was renamed the Government Museum
in its centenary year in 1974.
The museum is a priceless treasure trove of historical and religious artefacts and figurines dating back to the Kushan and Gupta periods in Indian history. A large repository of sculptures hosts the statues and figures of Gautama Buddha and the Jain Tirthankaras. The headless sculpture of Kanishka holding a sword and sheath in both hands and dressed in the Central Asian outfit of a horse rider is unique. A large number of terracotta pieces of gods and goddesses and plaques from the Sunga period are kept here.
Visiting times: 10.00 am – 5.00 pm. The museum is closed to visitors on Mondays and government holidays.
Location: western bank of the Yamuna River, Mathura
Kushinagar Museum (the Government Buddha Museum)
A city of monasteries, stupas and temples, Kushinagar is a historical centre of medieval Indian life and culture. The influence of Lord Buddha and traces of Buddhism are evident everywhere, highlighted by the archaeological findings unearthed in the area. Kushinagar is famous for the fact that Buddha attained Nirvana here. A large collection of Buddhist icons, bronzes, clay figurines, seals, paintings, panels and architectural remains are maintained in the museum. Some of the pieces like seals and coins date to the Malla kings who ruled over this area briefly. The historical artefacts offer rare insights into the Gandhara School of Art which flourished in and around this area.
Kushinagar is also famous for other religious sites like the Japanese, Chinese, Burmese, Sri Lankan and Thai temples and shrines; these beautifully designed religious houses have gardens and intricate decor that leave visitors in awe. The entire area is strewn with relics and ruins of Buddhist themes.Visiting times: 10.00 am to 4.30 pm. The museum is closed to visitors on Mondays and second Sundays of every month
Location: opposite the Sri Lankan Buddhist temple, Buddha Marg, Kushinagar.