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In Tamil Nadu, a circuit of amazing museums and galleries covers both the state's popular and niche attractions

Exploring The Niche Museums Of Tamil Nadu

Explore the many facets of history through a trail of some of the niche museums in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is a land of rich culture and thriving stories. When visiting, it is essential to explore not just the famous tourist attractions but also the places that are integral to the region’s cultural heritage.

Here are some of the niche museums in Tamil Nadu that you must include in your itinerary for a culturally immersive experience. 

Ooty Chocolate Factory 

This place is a paradise not just for kids, but for all chocolate affectionate. At a sweet halt to the M&M Chocolate Museum be prepared to be overwhelmed by the fascinating varieties of chocolates and the record-breaking, 18-metre long chocolate bar, which earned the museum a spot in the Limca Book of Records. Established in 2013, the museum is the ideal place to bring your kids and learn about the art of chocolate making, with historical references and ancient anecdotes from when Mayans from the Mesoamerican civilisation made cocoa drinks from Cocoa beans. You can take a guided museum tour and get an in-depth experience.

You can get your hands on various collections from premium to vintage and with different varieties ranging from dark to plain chocolates. With over 100 different varieties of chocolates and interactive DIYs, the M&M Chocolate Museum is an immersive experience that transports you into the whimsical world of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.

Getting there: You can take a bus to the museum from the Finger post bus station. The nearest airport is Coimbatore International Airport, located 96 km away from Ooty.

Address: Ooty-Mysore Road, Near Hpf, Ooty, Tamil Nadu

Hours: 9 am to 7 pm

Entry Fee: INR 20 per person and visitors are given the complimentary gift of wafers dipped in chocolate.

Gass Forest Museum in Coimbatore

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Be charmed by the treasure trove of rare artefacts at the Gass Forest Museum

The Gass Forest Museum is a natural history museum run by the government. This museum is claimed to be the first ever institution in India to house exhibits related to forestry. For everyone fascinated with nature and botany, a tour of this museum is a must. Located within the premises of the Forest College Campus in Coimbatore, the Gass Forest Museum not only stands as a leader in India's natural history landscape but also champions the promotion of environmental awareness and biodiversity preservation. Visitors can expect to be charmed by the treasure trove of rare artefacts, ranging from preserved specimens of plants and insects, wooden artefacts and a fascinating collection of taxidermied animals and birds, which is the highlight of the museum. Whether you visit with your family or by yourself, a tour of this museum will leave you with a newfound knowledge and appreciation for forests and their unique inhabitants. 

Getting there: You can fly to Coimbatore International Airport, about 12.8 Km away from the museum, or use private or public transport if you are a local since it is well-connected by road

Address: 2W8W+J99, Cowley Brown Road, R.S. Puram, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

Timing: 9 am to 1 pm & 2 pm to 5 pm. Closed on Saturday and Sunday and all Central Government Holidays.

Entry Fee: For Indians - INR 40 per adult & INR 20 per child. For Foreigners - INR 200

Gedee Car Museum in Coimbatore 

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GD Naidu Car Museum showcases one of India's premier vintage car collections

Also known as the GD Naidu Car Museum, it is a vintage car museum and one of Coimbatore's top tourist attractions. Automobile aficionados will find solace inside the museum which houses a diverse range of classic and rare vehicles from across the world. The museum, founded by GD Gopal, son of renowned industrialist GD Naidu, in 2015, showcases one of India's premier vintage car collections. Among the collection, there are models once owned by the royals of the country, such as the iconic Benz Motorwagen and Mercedes Benz SLK. A great place to learn about the intricate automotive technologies, the museum educates visitors about the marvels of technology and the innovators behind those timeless vehicles. Among the highlights of the museum are the elite safari experience for tourists and the opportunity to experience the restoration of rare and antique automobiles. 

Getting there: The nearest airport is  Coimbatore International airport, located 8.5 km away from where it would take around 25 minutes to reach by road.

Address: 734, President Hall Building, Avinashi Rd, Race Course, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

Hours: 9 am - 5 pm, Closed on Monday & Public Holidays

Entry fee: INR 75 for adults, INR 25 for children (from 6 -13 Years)

Wax Museum in Kanniyakumari

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Mayapuri Wonder Wax Museum

Stepping inside the Mayapuri Wonder Wax Museum in Kanniyakumari is similar to stepping through a portal into a world of glamour and stardom. Located within the Baywatch amusement park, this museum is the definition of a fun time. Walk amidst life-like wax figures of celebrities and snap selfies with them. Opened in 2005, the museum houses statues of both national and international icons such as Mahatma Gandhi to contemporary stars like Shahrukh Khan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan and more. Besides the wax figures, don't miss the 3D paintings within the museum premises for some added entertainment. 

Getting there: Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, about 88.6 km away, Kanyakumari Station, about 1.3 km away

Address: Cape Rd, near Railway Station, Kanniyakumari, Tamil Nadu 629702

Hours: 8 am to 8 pm, all days of the week

Entry fee: INR 120 per person

Nilgiris Tea Museum 

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At the Nilgiris Tea Museum see how tea is made

The tea factory in Ooty is perched at 1839 metres along the Doddabetta Road and packs in an immersive experience that is a must-have for tea lovers and everyone else too. Come and see how tea is made, from picking the leaves to packaging, and discover the fascinating history of tea in India and how it evolved in the Nilgiri hills. March to June offer an ideal climate for exploration. Inside the sprawling factory, there is a tea museum for visitors to learn about the methods and stages of tea production through engaging videos. Visitors can also buy some handcrafted souvenirs to take back home tea cups, tea plates and t-shirts. Additionally, you can also enjoy a tasting session and choose from flavours such as cardamom, masala, and ginger. Even if you are not a big fan of tea, there are multiple other experiences to have. With a dedicated chocolate counter focussing on the art of chocolate making and a nearby adventure club for thrill seekers, visiting the Ooty tea factory is a multi-faceted experience which should definitely be on your checklist. 

Getting there: Udhagamandalam Central Bus Stand is about 5 km away, and the Coimbatore International Airport is about 93 km away.

Address: Dodabetta Road, Mel Koddapmund, Ooty, Tamil Nadu 643002

Hours: 10 am to 6 pm, all days of the week

Fee: The entry fee is INR 20 per person.

Rail Museum 

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Rail Museum

Step inside a world of wonder at the Rail Museum in Chennai where the storied past of the Indian Railways is showcased through various creative artefacts, exhibits and monuments, allowing you to travel back in time. From marvelling at India's first steam engine, the iconic Fairy Queen to the regal Prince of Wales Saloon that used to ply members of the British royal family, everywhere you look you will find a piece of enchanting history. It's a wonderful place to visit with kids and family with so much to see and learn. Explore the galleries, showcasing memorabilia from the golden era of railways, tracing the modest origins of the Indian Railways to its modern glory.  Learn about the different types of trains at the museum and do not forget to take advantage of a miniature train ride traversing the lush landscapes of the museum's premises that is sure to evoke nostalgic memories of your childhood. The Rail Museum is a must-visit to celebrate India's railway legacy and relive the magic and wonder of train journeys.

Getting there: Chennai International Airport is about 16 km away and there are several buses that stop near the museum. Egmore Railway Station is about 2 km away.

Address: Next to ICF Furnishing Division, New Avadi Rd, Lakshmipuram, Villivakkam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600038

Hours: 10 am to 4:30 pm, all days of the week

Entry fee: INR 50 per person

Nilgiris Tribal Museum

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Nilgiris Tribal Museum

The Nilgiris Tribal Museum is a wonderful place to explore the indigenous history of the State. Located within the Tribal Research Centre campus in Udhagamndalam, Nilgiris district, the museum is a cultural repository established to preserve the heritage of Tamil Nadu's 36 tribal communities. Officially opened on October 2, 1995, the museum houses a diverse collection of artefacts, including traditional ornaments, weapons, utensils, pottery, tribal model huts, paintings and photographs and more. Children will learn a lot by spending a day at the museum and also touring additional attractions nearby like Emerald Dam and Avalanche. The Tribal Museum is a popular tourist spot for locals and visitors alike. It is easy to reach and is located just 10 km from Ooty Central Bus Stand and Railway Station towards Avalanche Road.

Hours: Monday to Friday, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Lunch break between 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm.

Fee: Indian Adults- INR 5, foreigners- INR 100, and free entry for children below 16 years.

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