Located at Chowringee in Kolkata is the famous tourist attraction The Indian Museum. It holds the title of being the ninth oldest museums in the World and the largest and oldest Museum in India. If you look at the British era text, it was referred to as Imperial Museum at Calcutta. Among locals it is popularly known as ‘Jadughar’. In the year 1814, the foundation stone for the museum was laid. It was established within the Asiatic society building, and was transferred to the present building in 1878. The famous Botanist from Denmark, Dr. Nathaneil Wallich was its founder.
Sir William Jones founded the Asiatic Society in the year 1784. The aim of this society was to be a center for learning and development of Art and culture pertaining to the socio-cultural activities, disseminating knowledge, entertaining the people, and preserving the cultural and natural heritage of mankind. The idea of forming a museum only came in 1796 by the members, with the aim to collect and preserve objects both man made and those found in nature. It was only in 1808, that the idea got shaped after the government provided space for the same.
Its present building is a treat to sore eyes. It was designed by the famous architect Walter B Grawille in Italian style. It consists of six departments – Art, Archeology, Geology, Zoology, and Economic Botany – which has sixty galleries, spread over 10000 square feet of area. For the history buffs, a book shop and library are also provided.
The Art section comprises of collections of textiles, art objects from Asian Countries and miniature paintings. It has a special section of South East Asian Gallery which showcases artifacts from Burma, China-Japan and Nepal-Tibet. The Archeological Section showcases artifacts from India and abroad dating back to the Stone Age; also pre historic antiquities from Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro ranging from 2500 Bc to 1500 BC. Some notable galleries in this section are Egyptian, Orissan Art, coins, Gandhara and many more. The Anthropological section contains objects that belong to the Tribal and Non-tribal people of India and has a rare collection of Musical Instruments.
The Industrial section boasts botanical specimens from cottage, forestry, agricultural and medical industry. Specimens of Fish Insects, Reptiles, Mammals and birds can be seen in the Zoological section. Over 80,000 specimens spread over four sections, containing precious stones, meteorites, minerals, rocks, fossils and building stones can be found in the Geological center.
Entry fee is Rs. 10 for Indians and Rs. 150 for Foreigners. It is open all days of the week except on Mondays from 10am to 5pm (March to November) and 10am to 4.30pm (December to February).