Our country has a glorious past that keeps us fascinated. A peek into the history gives us an insight on how we became the nation we are today. If you are among the curious souls to know about the existential and philosophical questions, then museum is a place that works as a snacking option. Apart from the historical museums there are several quirky ones that will keep your curiosity aroused at least for a long time. On International Museum Day, we have compiled a list of 10 quirky museums in India that you should visit once in a lifetime.
Mayong Black Magic and Witchcraft Museum, Guwahati
Mayong, a village located in Assam’s Marigaon district, is historically been known as ‘the land of black magic’, the origin of black magic in the place is not documented though. The name Mayong or Mayang has been originated from the word ‘Maya’ meaning illusion. The Mayong Black Magic Museum and Emporium has also preserved ancient manuscript of Black Magic, swords that are assumed to be used for making human sacrifices, handmade dolls, skulls and tools. Visitors are also given live demonstration of magic show where ancient rituals are being performed to cast healing spells.
National Rail Museum, New Delhi
Located in Chanakyapuri and spread over 10 acres of land, the National Rail Museum was first opened for visitors on February 1, 1977. It is considered as one of the biggest museums in India. The one-of-a-kind museum displays a great collection of railway masterpieces, carriages and antique steam locomotives. The main exhibits of the museum are Patiala State Monorail Trainways, Fairy Queen, Fire Engine, Saloon of Prince of Wales, Electric Locomotive Sir Roger Lumley Matheran Rail Car No 8899, Betty Tramways and Fireless Steam Locomotives, among others. When here don’t forget to enjoy the toy train ride, it may cost you just Rs 20.
Naval Aviation Museum, Goa
Goa is not just about beaches and suntans. The military museum displays the evolution of the Indian Naval Air Arm over decades. Inaugurated in October 1998, the museum comprises of two-storey indoor gallery and an outdoor exhibit. The indoor section displays several rare and vintage photographs and documents that India’s Naval Aviation History since 1959. It also houses a variety of Indian Navy’s bombs, sensors and cannons. While the outer section has around 13 aircraft on display that includes Short Sealand Mk 2, Fairey Firefly TT Mk1, HAL HT-2, de Havilland Vampire T-55, Hawker Sea Hawk FGA Mk 100, Breguet Alizé, HAL Chetak and Hughes Hu-300, among others.
Fossil Park Museum, Sirmaur
Also known as the Suketi Fossil Park, the museum showcases a collection of vertebrate fossils and skeletons. It also houses an open-air exhibition of six life-sized fiberglass models of extinct mammals – Huge land tortoise, sabre toothed cat, large tusked elephant, four-horned giraffe, gharial and hippopotamus. The place is considered to be Asia’s biggest fossil park and is maintained by Geological Survey of India.
Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, Delhi
The one-of-a-kind exhibition is managed by Sulabh International, a social service organisation dedicated to human rights and environmental sanitation. The museum was established in 1992 by social activist Dr Bindeshwar Pathak to highlight the need to address India’s sanitation issue. Today it educates visitors about the development of toilets and importance of sanitation. The displays dates back to 3000 BC, on displays are ancient chamber pots, toilets made of gold, Victorian toilet seats, sewerage system during Harappan Civilisation and also display boards with poetries, jokes and cartoons.
Calico Museum of Textiles, Ahmedabad
Managed by Sarabhai Foundation, Calico Museum of Textiles was established in 1949 by industrialist Gautam Sarabhai and his sister Gira Sarabhai. Initially the museum was located at the Calico Mills but with the introduction of several collection it was shifted to the Sarabhai House in Shahibaug in 1983. The collection on display are court textiles used by Mughals, 19th century regional embroideries, miniature paintings, temple hangings and miniature paintings. The museum is ranked as one of the finest museums in India.
Brooms Museum, Jodhpur
Also known as Arna Jharna, the museum is a tribute to folklorist and Padma Bhushan recipient Komal Kothari. It showcases around 160 hand-made brooms sourced from different parts of Rajasthan produced by different rural communities. The purpose is to understand society and environment as it gives us the idea of grasses and plants that are grown in particular region. In addition, it also conducts interactive workshops related to folk culture and traditional knowledge.
Human Brain Museum, Bengaluru
Housed in the basement of Bengaluru’s national Institute of Mental health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) was established in 1995 to promote research in neurobiology. The museum has over 300 brain specimens preserved in jar and is a result of 30 years of collection. The place helps visitors see brains, understand its functioning and also get an insight of the different types of diseases that affect brain. Each brain on display has its own story. At the end of the tour visitors also get to hold an actual brain.
Shankar’s International Dolls Museum, New Delhi
Set up by K Shankar Pillai, political cartoonist, in 1965 the museum has a huge collection of dolls from across the globe. Started with a thousand dolls today the museum has over 6,500 dolls from 85 countries. The museum is divided in to section, the one section exhibits dolls from Europe, the US, New Zealand and Australia and other section has dolls from Asian countries. Using dolls as a medium the place depicts arts, culture and folklore of different countries.
RBI Monetary Museum, Mumbai
The RBI Monetary Museum was inaugurated by the then President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam on November 18, 2004. The museum is an attempt to document, preserve and preserve India’s currency system to public. The place has been divided into different sections that offers a wide collection of coins, notes and financial instruments. On display are the first form of currency i.e. beads and shells to engraved coins from different historical periods.