Museums in Jammu Kashmir
The historical revelations of Jammu Kashmir are beautifully displayed in its museums. This state boasts of rich history laden with nobility of its various rulers and deep impact of invaders. It has been in existence since mythological era. What makes it more intriguing is the beauty with which these magnificent structures are still standing tall and proud. The state is a delight for historians with numerous excavations relating to bygone eras and evidences of most powerful dynasties having ruled over this land. So, when you plan a trip to the paradise on earth, make sure you have a dekko at its historical heritage as well.
Famous Museums in Jammu Kashmir
Museums in Jammu Kashmir have carefully restored its dignity and richness. Some of the famous museums in this state are:
Amar Mahal Museum in Jammu
This is a palace turned into museum. This splendid structure in the city of Jammu is inspired from French Chateau in its architectural style. It was the official residence for Maharaja Amar Singh, the last Dogra King and descendant of Suryavanshi clan of Rajputs. The striking design of this palace attracts visitors with a distinctive charm and its artifacts. It was designed and built in 1890s by a French architect. Until 1967, it was used by the royal Dogra family of Jammu. Then in 1975, it was converted into museum and library by Dr. Karan Singh. This museum carved in red sandstone is also called as Dogra Hall of Museum. It is run by Hari-Tara Charitable trust.
Rarest artifacts related to Pahari and Dogra culture are displayed in Amar Mahal Museum. It has an exquisite throne belonging to Maharaja Hari Singh. This throne made from gold weighing 120 kg is beautifully designed with golden lions on all its sides. It is placed in an enclosed hexagonal room of the palace and can be viewed through glass chambers.
Apart from this throne, Amar Mahal Museum also houses rare Dogra paintings, Pahari paintings, and family portraits of royal family. It has paintings depicting scenes from epic Mahabharata, stories like Nal Damayanti, and miniature Pahari paintings along with modern paintings of Dasavatara. Another attraction of this museum is the huge collection of ancient books in it. It houses more than 25, 000 books collected over past fifty years or so. These include antique books from the personal collection of Maharaja Amar Singh as well.Timings: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
It remains closed on Mondays
Dogra Art Museum in Jammu
This is a significant museum in Jammu Kashmir. It is located in the Pink Hall of famous Mubarak Mandi complex in Jammu. It houses many artifacts of historical significance. This museum was opened in 1954 at Gandhi Bhawan of Jammu. Later on, in 1991, it was shifted to Mubarak Mandi complex. It has rarest collection of miniature paintings from Basholi and Dogra School of art. It also displays other relics like metal objects, manuscripts, Akhnoor terracotta heads, Dogra dresses, jewelries, sculptures, and decorative art pieces. But the most outstanding treasure of this museum is the golden bow and arrow of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan.
Also, there are Persian manuscripts of Shahnama and Sikandarnama. This museum is an excellent place to explore the martial culture of Dogra kings. It houses their weapons and warfare like swords, pistols, guns, daggers, arm plates, helmets, chains, etc. Due to its diversified and rich collection, this museum is a prime attraction of J&K. It holds special significance for history and archeology enthusiasts. While visiting Mubarak Mandi Complex, you must plan a visit to Dogra Art Museum.Timings: 8:00 AM - 1:30 PM in summers
10:30 AM - 4:30 PM in winters
Shri Pratap Singh Museum in Srinagar
This museum is located in famous Lal Mandi area of Srinagar. It was earlier the summer palace of kings in Kashmir. Later, it was established as museum in 1898 by Maharaja Pratap Singh. The sole purpose behind establishing this museum was conservation of cultural and archeological reminiscences of Jammu and Kashmir along with Baltistan and Gilgit regions. Kashmir is one of the earliest human settlements which are more than 5000 years old. As such, it has rich arts scattered all over its landscape and an enviable cultural heritage to share with the world.
Artifacts displayed in this museum include rare terracotta heads related to 3rd century AD. In the archeological section of Shri Pratap Singh Museum, you can explore collection of terracotta and metal art pieces from excavation sites of Pandrethan, Avantipora, Parihaspur, Ushkur (Baramulla), and Harwan. These plaques display the artistic richness of Kashmiris. There are figurines of Lord Buddha and other Buddhist deities in this museum along with Ladakhi artifacts, paintings, shawls, arms, and coins. The most significant feature of this museum is an ancient brass model of Lokeswara and a green stone sculpture of Lord Vishnu sitting on the Garuda. Along with many other Dogra style showpieces, weapons, utensils, furniture, carpets, textiles, leather, willow articles, and musical instruments, there is a copper image of Buddha carved in Gandhara style in this museum to allure you with its sheer magnificence.Timings: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM (Closed on Wednesdays)
Kanchenjunga Museum in Gulmarg
It is an Army warfare museum in Gulmarg. This museum is located within High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) of Indian Army. Here, various tools and equipments used by military since 1947 for mountain climbing and mountaineering are displayed. If you possess interest in Army’s expeditions in Himalayan ranges, this museum is a must visit place for you. It was set up in memory of Indian Army’s first summit to Kanchenjunga in 1997.
All other successful expeditions including the one to Mount Everest are also displayed in this museum. There are two sand models separately prepared for each expedition along with equipments used to scale the heights of Himalayas by military personnel over the years. For the young breed of soldiers, it instills confidence to cross the toughest terrains of valley including glaciers, ridges, and streams.Timings: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM in summers
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM in winters
Stok Palace Museum in Leh
This museum situated within Stok Palace must be a part of your itinerary while travelling to Ladakh. It has beautiful artifacts related to royal family of Ladakh on display. This palace is still used by Royal family to reside during summers. One room of this royal manor has been specially designed and converted into museum. Here, you can explore the valuable possessions of royal and nobles of this region.
There are ancient copper coins, tea kits, crowns, heirlooms, jewelries, equipments, gemstones, and items related to their traditions. It also houses sacred Dzi stones also called ‘Pure Happiness Pearls’ and 16th Century Thangkas that depict various teachings of Buddha. In this museum, you can also catch glimpse of a priceless gold crown embellished with corals, rubies, and lapis lazuli. It is still worn by the Head of Royal Family of Ladakh on special occasions. There are also swords coupled with knot by King Tashi Phutgal for displaying his power and strength.Timings: 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM
These are the popular and must visit museums of Jammu Kashmir. These museums are the perfect places to discover the history of this state hidden beneath its natural beauty. So, go grab the sight!!!