Prior to 1956, the then State of Mysore had only two museums. In 1956, with the fusion of Karnataka and reorganization of states, the Museum of Art and Archaeology at Kannada Research Institute in Dharwar came into existence. Since then, museums mushroomed in this state of South India.

In 1960, the Government of Karnataka brought museums under the Director of Archeology and Museums. Under this body, there are 9 museums, which include one art gallery. Under the Archaeological Survey of India, the state has 4 museums and 3 sculpture sheds. Under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the state has 3 organizations; the chief one being Visveshwaraya Industrial and Technological Museum. Karnataka has 5 private museums and 3 university museums.

Karnataka museums are treasure houses of the state’s historical glory. Remnants from the ancient eras are meticulously preserved here. Traditional paintings, artifacts, sculpture, and the artistry of the ancient ages delight visitors to no end.

Famous Museums of Karnataka

Karnataka Government Museum

Karnataka Government Museum, opened in 1866, is one of the oldest museums of India. It is in Bengaluru. It features an imposing Neo-classical structure that harbors a slew of artifacts and sculptures from different eras of the state’s history.

The museum has a painting section called Venkatappa Art Gallery. It houses a significant collection of conventional Mysore paintings. The museum contains Halmidi inscription, which is the earliest Kannada inscription dating back to 450 AD. The museum is dedicated to the founder of Bangalore city, Yelahanka Chieftain Kempegowda.
The museum is closed on Mondays. Rest of the week it is open from 10 in the morning to 5 in the evening.

Rail Museum

Rail museum is in Mysore near the railway station. It was established in 1979. It has an impressive collection of locomotives, including coaches that date back to the infancy days of the Indian railway. This is the second museum of its kind in India. The first one is in Delhi.

The museum has Chamundi Gallery, which contains a distinct collection of paintings and photographs that show growth and evolution of the Indian railways. The Maharani’s saloon carriage, built in 1899, is the center of attraction in the gallery. It has a royal dining car, kitchen, and loo.

Karnataka Folk Museum

Karnataka Folk Museum is about 53 km from Bengaluru city. It is built in an area of 15 acres to promote the interesting folk life of the state. It stands on Kumara Park West in Sheshadripuram. The Karnataka Janapada Trust manages the Folk Museum.

An attractive feature of this museum is its regal collection of Karnataka folk music and folk dance videotapes. The museum also features unique masks, costumes, colorful artifacts, and more.

The eye candy feature of the museum is its beautifully carved temple chariot. It was largely destroyed in a fire, yet it retains its charm. Another feature that delights visitors are ancient carvings carved from different stones.

The Folk Museum also contains a recording studio, which features the latest equipment, and a college, which is devoted to the folk life of Karnataka. The whole museum complex has three buildings.

They are: Lokamahal, which contains a unique collection of puppets, weapons, folk instruments, masks, and more. Lokamatha Mandir, which displays a vast collection of baskets, utensils, and earthen jars used to stock pickles and grains. Chitrakuteera  displays a collection of photographs showing facets of the folk life of the state.

Visveswaraya Industrial and Technological Museum

Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum is named after one of the greatest engineers of India, Sir M. Visveshwaraya. He was bestowed with the Bharat Ratna. The museum pays honor to his endeavors to make science and technology accessible to the common mass. The museum is a unit of the National Council of Science Museums, which comes under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

The museum has various sections dedicated to different science disciplines. It’s “Engine Hall,” Dinosaur Enclave, and Space Gallery, which displays the history of space exploration and talks of rocket science, attracts tourists in swarms. The museum’s Electrotechnic Gallery showcases the history of telephone technology and its development. It also contains different electrotechnic experiments.

Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery

Sri Jayachamarajendra Gallery is inside the Jagmohan Palace, which was built in 1902. The Palace is in Mysore. The gallery, which is open from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, has a splendid collection of ivory, ceramics, sandalwood, stone, ancient musical instruments, and antique furniture. The genealogical table used by the Mysore kings from 1399 is an eye-catching feature of the museum. It is painted in the form of a leaf in Mysore style of art.

Karnataka intrigues visitors through its rich culture and history. History lovers would have a good time visiting museums and galleries in the state.


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