Madhya Pradesh is truly a treasure trove for history buffs and culture enthusiasts. This heartland of India is steeped in a rich history that dates back to thousands of years. One of the best ways to immerse yourself in this cultural heritage is by visiting the many museums that dot the state.
From the sprawling open-air exhibition of tribal habitats at the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS) in Bhopal to the ancient stone sculptures and inscriptions at the Gujari Mahal Archeological Museum in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh is a haven for museum lovers. Here are our top five picks.
To embark on a voyage through the realm of museums without paying homage to the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS) in Bhopal is to leave an artistic symphony incomplete. Within its expansive domain of over 200 acres, an open-air exhibition unfolds, revealing the awe-inspiring tapestry of tribal habitats from every corner of India.
Crafted by the hands of the tribes themselves, using indigenous raw materials, these dwellings breathe life into the essence of tribal existence, encapsulating their vibrant way of life. The open-air galleries beckon with enchantment, be it the ethereal Himalayan Village, the captivating Medicinal Trail, the mythological wonders of the Trails, the resplendent Desert Village, or the timeless marvels of Rock-Art Heritage, boasting of 36 awe-inspiring rock shelters adorned with prehistoric paintings. The museum's treasures extend beyond offering glimpses of traditional attire, agricultural and household artefacts, and a myriad of crafts, all testament to the captivating reign of the tribes.
Address: Lake View Road, next to RCE campus, Shymala Hills, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh 462013
At 62 kilometres from the renowned Khajuraho, nestled along the Chhatarpur-Nowgaon highway, lies the majestic Maharaja Chhatrasal Museum in Dhubela. Known affectionately as the Dhubela Museum, this palace, gracefully poised on the banks of Dhubela Lake, unfolds a tapestry of the fabled Bundela dynasty woven intricately into the fabric of Khajuraho's history. Since its establishment in 1955, this sanctuary of heritage has offered visitors a gateway to the illustrious past. Eight galleries house an exquisite collection, where inscriptions, copper plates, Sati pillars, lingas, and intricately inscribed images from the Gupta and Kalachuri period are displayed. Sculptures of the revered Shakti cult grace these halls, alongside a significant collection of Jain images, bearing witness to the dynastic legacy that endures.
Address: National Highway 75, Mausahaniya, Madhya Pradesh, 471201
Deep within the Chandela Cultural Complex in Khajuraho lies an oasis for the connoisseurs of history—the Adivart Tribal and Folk Art Museum. This haven boasts of a rich tapestry of tribal customs, rituals, and artistry, inviting visitors on a captivating journey through the centuries-old traditions of the diverse tribes that grace Madhya Pradesh's lands. Immerse yourself in the treasure trove of over 500 tribal antiques, folk paintings, exquisite jewellery, mesmerising masks, evocative terracotta objects, masterful metal craft, and delicate bamboo creations. The museum, an ode to the evolution of artistry, even offers the opportunity to acquire original paintings and prints, allowing one to carry a piece of history.
Address: Sevagram, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, 471606
In the realm of Gwalior, where legends echo through time, the Gujari Mahal stands as a testament to devotion and grandeur. Initially conceived by the illustrious king Man Singh as a majestic abode for his beloved queen, the revered Mrignayani of the Gurjar family, this architectural gem now houses the Archeological Survey of India's museum. A treasury of archaeological marvels awaits within its hallowed halls, showcasing the awe-inspiring heritage of bygone eras. From the timeless allure of stone sculptures and the delicate charm of terracotta figures to the profound messages etched into stone and copper, every artefact carries the weight of history. As you immerse yourself in the museum's embrace, you are transported back in time, where the flickering light of bronze sculptures, the strokes of ancient paintings, and the stories woven within weapons and excavated relics whisper of a vibrant past that resonates today.
Address: Lohamandi, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, 474008