Time Required: 1-2 hrs
Open Time: 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM (Closed on Monday and gazetted holidays)
Cost: INR 10 per person,
Camera: INR 5
Government museum and art gallery in Chandigarh is one of the prominent museums of India that speaks well of the Indian history and partition. Established in August 1947, the museum is known for its rich collection of paintings, artefacts, and sculptures. Moreover, its unique architecture which was designed by Le Corbusier is highly spoken of. On 6th May 1968, Dr MS Randhawa, then chief commissioner of Lahore inaugurated the museum.
The mission of this institution is to encourage appreciation of values embedded in Art and bring it close to the lives of people through interpretation of its rich collection and innovative programs. Located in the centre of the town, it offers the view of the Shivalik ranges in the backdrop. Visiting here gives you in-depth knowledge in the form Gandharan sculptures, Pahari and Rajasthani miniature paintings.
This museum owes its existence to August 1947 Indian partition. Prior the partition, the sculptures and paintings were kept at the Central Museum in Lahore. After the separation of India and Pakistan in 1947; the artefacts, souvenirs, and statues of the museum were divided between the two countries. On April 10, 1948, sixty percent of the collection went to Pakistan, and the rest forty, which included Indian miniature paintings and Gandharan sculptures, were retained in the India continent. In Apil 1949, these were brought to Amritsar, then shifted to various cities like Shimla and Patiala. Finally, it made home in Chandigarh as Government Museum and Art Gallery. The museum was again established in the year 1968 with its remaining history collection.
The museum is briefly divided into seven sections each one showcasing a different sect of history collection. The Government Museum and Art Gallery display the sculptures of ancient India, Medieval India, Gandhara period, etc. It also showcases the artefacts from different periods of the history such as Indian miniature paintings, metal sculptors, decorative art and contemporary Indian art. The natural history section of the museum exhibits the evolution of man, dinosaurs in India, and the ancient manuscripts. The national gallery of portraits displays the photos of the freedom fighters of Indian independence movement rising from the year 1857. A detailed information about some of them is given below-
1. Miniature Painting
The museum has an amazing collection of miniature paintings belonging to the Pahari School of Art, showcasing the Rajasthani idiom, and various paintings concerned with Sikh Art. It has an exquisite sets of paintings. Many of them are the portraits of rajas who patronised several Pahari schools. The paintings have names of its painters inscribed just so that the visitor knows to whom it belongs.
2. Medieval Indian Sculpture
The largest and the most attractive out of all is of Padmavati which was brought from Sholapur. Other sculptures include Jina Figure from Vijaynagar, Brahminical faith statues from the stray sites of Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Agroha, and Haryana.
3. Contemporary Indian Art
It has the works of Anis Farooqui, Amrita Shergil, Bireshwar Sen, Raj Jain, Jatin Das, Rabindranath Tagore, Gaganendranath Tagore, J. Sultan Ali, Jaya Appasami, Manu Parekh, and many more.
The 627 Gandhara sculptures are the ones which fell into the Indian region after the partition of 1947. The sculptures vary in styles and sizes. There are a few large sized Bodhisattva and Buddha images. Panchika and Hariti are the main attractions. These are the treasures belonging to the ancient times. This collection is of great interest to scholars.
As much as it is known for its historic collections of paintings, artefacts, and sculptures, the museum is known for its brilliant architecture as well. The building is divided into three levels; it has its library, experiment lab, exhibition hall, and auditorium. The architect of the building has well designed the building to make the maximum use of the daylight. The light enters from northeast and southwest through the skylight. The right amount of the light in the building is used to illuminate the artefacts in the museum. The building also has a structure for rainwater harvesting. It stores the rainwater and then facilitates the supply of water inside the premises.
The Museum also hosts a Light and Sound show with the twin motives of providing knowledge and entertainment on every Friday, Saturday, Sunday except on gazetted holidays. The entry is free.
Winter Timings: 6:30 PM To 7:15 PM
Summer Timings: 7:30 PM To 8:15 PM
Located in the 10C sector of Chandigarh, you can hire a private taxi or auto rickshaw to commute within the city and reach the museum.
1. You can book a guided tour in advance at the museum. There are guided tours in Hindi, English, and French.
2. You can get a free audio guide at the ticket purchasing counter.
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