Travel Bucket List: India – Delhi Part 5

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
Built to commemorate the visit Guru Har Krishan, the eighth Sikh guru in 1664, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib was built by Sikh General Sardar Bhagel Singh in 1783, who supervised the construction of nine Sikh shrines in Delhi in the same year during the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II.

The complex has a main prayer hall, a holy Sarovar or lake, a higher secondary school, a hospital, the Baba Baghel Singh Museum, and a library within its premises. People visiting get free community meals served at a particular time. The entire building is carved out of delicate white marble, with the central dome covered in solid gold leaves. The front wall is embellished with intricated projected carvings and has several smaller domes as well. The Nishan Sahib is a towering flagpole that proudly waves the Gurudwara’s flag.

It is believed that the waters of the Sarovar here have miraculous healing properties. The Gurudwara was once a bungalow belonging to Raja Jai Singh in the 17th century and was known as Jaisinghpura Palace at that time. When the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan visited Delhi in the year 1664, he stayed at the palace. Following the teachings of Sikhism, Guru Har Krishan dedicated his services to the suffering by giving fresh water from the well, the healing powers of which cured the diseased. Unfortunately, he contracted the same, as a result of which he died on March 30, 1664. Raja Jai Singh constructed a small tank over the waters of the well, and it is now believed to heal all kinds of diseases and health problems. It is taken away in bottles as souvenirs by devotees coming to Bangla Sahib from all over the world.

When entering the gurudwara, heads need to be covered, shoes have to be deposited near the entrances, and feet washed in warm water before entering. The Paath and Shabads or the sacred chants go on for almost 24 hours and there is an aura of peace and divinity that envelops the visitor.

There is also a Yatri Niwas for tourists with room facilities available. An air-conditioned room, it costs INR 1000 per night, while non-air-conditioned rooms are rented for INR 800 per night. There is also a huge hall that can accommodate 500 people. Photography is not allowed inside the campus and selfies are strictly prohibited. Community meals or Langars are served between 9 am and 3 pm and then again between 7 and 10 pm.

Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib
Situated in the Chandi Chowk area, Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib is one of the nine historical gurudwaras in Delhi. Built in 1783 by Baghel Singh, a military general in the Punjab cantonment, the gurdwara is the martyrdom site of the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur who was executed here on the orders of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb on 11th November 1675 as he refused to convert his religion to Islam. Before the body could be revived and displayed for view for the devotees, it was stolen by one of the Guru’s disciples Lakhi Shah Vanjara. Vanjara carried the body to his home and burnt down his house to cremate his Guru. Today, Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib stands at that spot. The head of Guru Tegh Bahadur was taken to Anandpur Sahib and cremated there by his son. Like all other gurdwaras, this one is also open to people of all religions and faith to visit. The gurudwara is open between 12 noon and 11:30 pm daily.

Rakab Ganj Gurdwara
Another historical Gurdwara, the Rakab Ganj Gurdwara near Parliament House has historical significance. Historical records name Baghel Sikh, the Sikh Military General, to be the one who constructed this Gurdwara in 1783. Gurdwara Rakab Ganj is known for being the cremation site of the headless body of the ninth Guru of Sikhs, the martyr Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, who gave his life, saving Hindu Kashmiri Pandits from Aurangzeb’s cruelties in 1675.

The body of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was cremated by Baba Lakhi Shah Vanjara and his son, who belonged to a colony of stirrup makers, which are attached to a horse’s saddles. Hence, the name Rakab, Persian for stirrups. Gurdwara Rakab Ganj has two prayer halls. The main prayer hall is where the body was cremated. The second one is much bigger and recent and is used during events to accommodate large crowds of people. Constructed of white marble, there is a garden on one side. Indicating how Sikhism doesn’t discriminate based on caste, colour, or religion, it has entrance gates on all four sides.

While the Sis Ganj Gurdwara is where Guru Tej Bahadur Ji’s head was beheaded, the place where Gurdwara Rakab Ganj stands now was earlier a Muslim Mosque. When Baghel Singh came to Delhi with his army of 30,000 Sikh warriors and saw this, he asked the Muslims to uproot the Mosque to check the ground beneath the Mosque for Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji’s ashes by demolishing it. There were objections raised to this, but the Muslims were offered that the Mosque would be reconstructed at the Sikhs’ expense if the vase with the Guru’s ashes was not found. Upon investigation, the claims by the Sikhs were proved right and the Gurdwara was built with permission from Emperor Shah Alam II.

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Sunder Nursery
Located opposite Humayun’s Tomb, Sunder Nursery is a 16th-century heritage park, home to six UNESCO world heritage monuments and 15 heritage monuments protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. The 90-acre garden also houses a paradise garden with a marble fountain, almost 300 plants and tree species, 80 bird species, and 40 butterfly species. Formerly known as Azeem Bagh, Bagh-e-Azeem, or the Great Garden, it was originally built by the Mughals in the 16th century. The park is sandwiched between the Humayun tomb complex on the south and Purana Qila to the north. The word Sunder means beautiful and the nursery gets its name from the Sunder Burj tomb on its premises.

As one of New Delhi’s top green eco-zones, Sunder Nursery is an immensely photogenic place and one can often come across many couples taking wedding photoshoots and movies being filmed here. While 20 acres of the park are utilized for developing nursery beds, another 30 have been dedicated to creating a biological diversity zone. Sunder Nursery has a collection of four distinct micro-habitat zones with sections showcasing Delhi’s heritage monuments and ecological wealth. These zones replicate Delhi’s original terrain, viz. Kohi or the ridge, Bangar or the alluvial soil, Khadar or the riverine, and Dabar or the marshland.

Every weekend, The Earth Collective farmers market is pitched here with both permanent and new stalls. There are about 45 stalls in total, selling local handmade apparel, home decor, snacks, and fresh vegetables and fruits. Artisan products, beverages, jams and preserves, terracotta cookware, handmade clothing and solar power products are some of the eco-friendly products available. Visitors can also pick up Sunder Nursery’s organic vermicompost, fertilizers and pesticides at this market. The market is open on Saturday and Sunday between 9 am and 2 pm.

In 1950, Mr V.P. Agnihotri donated a bonsai house to Sunder Nursery with some of the plants as old as 90 years. Other bonsai contributors include British officials who imported exotic seeds in the early 1900s. The Bonsai House is also home to 40 species of butterflies like a blue and yellow pansy, Indian Palm Bob, Peacock Pansy, and the Banded Awl.

Sunder Nursery is open daily between 7 am and 6 pm. Ticket prices for Indians are INR 40 for adults, INR 20 for children between 5 and 12 and those under five get in free. Senior citizens 60 years and above need to pay INR 20 while foreigners pay INR 200.

Lodhi Gardens
Located near the Safdarjung tomb and Khan Market, Lodhi Garden is a luscious garden that houses the tombs of the Sayyid ruler Mohammed Shah and Lodhi King Sikandar Lodhi. The garden was constructed under the Lodhi reign sometime in the 15th century and in addition to the tombs, Lodhi Garden also has the Shisha Gumbad and Bara Gumbad within its perimeter. The architecture is a mix of the Sayyidi and Lodhi styles and today the garden is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.

The garden was also known as Lady Willingdon Park, but was renamed Lodhi Gardens after India’s independence. The contrast of sombre mausoleums against the lush greenery of the gardens makes it a favourite. Under the Mughal, the garden area went under major renovations following the purpose deemed fit by the rulers. Akbar, the third Mughal emperor, used the garden as an observatory and to keep records as well. During British colonial rule, renovations were regularly carried out and The wife of the Governor-General of India, Marquess of Willingdon, landscaped these gardens after which it was named Lady Willingdon Park upon its inauguration on 9 April 1936.

One of the oldest tombs here is that of Mohammad Shah who was the last ruler of the Sayyid Dynasty. This cenotaph was built in 1444 by Ala-ud-din Alam Shah as a tribute to the King. The construction of the tomb is a combination of Hindu style symbolism and Islamic ornamentation. The main complex of the tomb is octagonal and has a central dome embellished with arches, verandahs and ancient fortification structures. Sikander Lodhi’s tomb is made in the image of the Shah’s tomb and is an important example of this kind of architecture. This tomb houses the remains of the battlements within it even today. In the gardens’ midst lies the Bara Gumbad, which is a large rubble dome. Not a tomb, the Bara Gumbad is a passage to an adjoining three-domed mosque, both of which were built in 1494 during the rule of Sikander Lodi. Opposite the Bara Gumbad is the Glass Dome, which is called so owing to the glazed tiles used in its construction. The ceiling here contains plasterwork with inscriptions from the Quran and is a representation of both Hindu and Islamic architecture. Within this dome are the remains of an unknown family. The Glass Dome was also constructed during Sikander Lodi’s reign. Once inside the Gardens, one may see remains of a watercourse that connects the Yamuna River to the Tomb of Sikandar Lodi. An Eight Pier Bridge close to Sikander’s tomb was built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. The bridge has seven arches amongst which the central one is the largest.

Lodhi Gardens is open between 6 am and 7:30 pm and there is no entry fee to access the gardens. There are a few restaurants within the garden, which makes for a very nice ambience.

Garden of Five Senses
Located away from the din of the city, the Garden of Five Senses sprawls over 20 acres of land and is designed to stimulate the senses of touch, sight, smell, sound, and taste . Partly built on rocky terrain and partly in the plain area, the garden has various themed parks, a section of Mughal baghs, pools of water lilies, cascades of sparkling water, a solar energy park, an amphitheatre, and a food court, in addition to a number of sculptures, rock carvings and themed decor.

Designed by Pradeep Sachdeva, the park was jointly constructed by Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation and was inaugurated in February 2003. The flower show during February is a notable event.

Two enormous sculptures of ascending birds, carved in stainless steel welcomes one to the garden. In the front is the expansive plaza, set on a rocky ramp, which leads to a spiral walk away amidst a parade of slatey-coloured stone elephants. The garden is divided into several parts.

To the right of the spiral stairway is the Khas Bagh. This tiny piece of garden is inspired by the Mughal char bagh. It has lush green lawns in the four-fold style, with water tanks and free-flowing cascades of water. The sides are decked with small shrubberies and vibrant flowers and the median axis has a decor of fountains, the main attraction of which is the sculpture of a Fountain Tree which is a fountain cum tree lit up by a fibreoptic lighting system. On the other side of the spiral walk away, a little further on the pathway, is the food court and tiny shopping area. A few steps ahead is the rocky ridge with stone silhouettes and a pinwheel. Another trail of winding paths will lead one to Neel Bagh, a pool of water lilies and climbers, and seasonal flowers. Overhead on the trees is an elaborate decor of wind chimes. Walking still inside the park, one will come across various floral species and bushes including some rare and endangered species, almost 200 of them. Set amidst trees is the amphitheatre with stone seats and grassy steps which hosts cultural events and art workshops. In addition, the garden also has a tiny solar area which helps in generating solar energy.

Guided tours of the garden called Nature Walks are organised which commence with the introduction and description of the trees and proceed to the architecture inspired by the Mughals and then showcase the park and what it can offer. Believed to be a goodwill gesture to Mexico, the government hoisted a replica of the Labna in Mexico here. The original Labna was built by the Mayans in Yucatan during the Late and Terminal Classic era, around 862. The local Labna Arch was constructed with stones imported from Rajasthan which are similar to the ones found in Yucatan.

The park is open in the summer from April to September between 9 am and 7 pm and in the winter months from October to March between 9 am and 6 pm. Entry fees are INR 30 for adults, INR 15 for children up to the age of 12, and INR 15 for senior citizens.

National Rose Garden
The National Indo-Africa Friendship Rose Garden, commonly known as the National Rose Garden is a gorgeous rose garden situated in Chanakyapuri. It boasts umpteen varieties of roses curated from all over the world. The park is especially crowded from November to January when the roses are in full bloom. The garden is open daily between 6 am to 6 pm.

Mehrauli Archaeological Park
Less than a km from the Qutb Complex, the Mehrauli Archaeological Park is spread over a 200-acre area, which includes the ruins of the Lal Kot built by the Tomar Rajputs in the 11th century. Mehrauli is one of the seven ancient cities that comprise today’s Delhi and the ruins at the archaeological park are almost half a century older than Old Delhi or Shahjahanabad. The more than 100 scattered monuments here date back to the 10th century and as recent as British colonial rule. From the majestic stone works of the Lal Kot under the Chauhan Rajputs to one of the finest examples of Indo-Islamic architecture in Balban’s Tomb, to the Jamali Kamali Mosque and Tomb which is believed to be the first pioneering work of Mughal architecture in India, there are a lot of glimpses one can gain in the work of craftsmen, builders, architects, masons and engineers of a past era.

The redevelopment of the area as an archaeological park and the conservation of important structures started in 1997, in collaboration between Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC), the State Department of Archaeology, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), which first started systematic documentation of structures in the area and also started conducting heritage walks since 2000. Over the years, INTACH has restored some 40 monuments in the Park and added signages, heritage trails, and sandstone trail-markers

The fort city of Lal Kot was built by the Tomar Rajputs in 1050 and served as a sanctuary for the armies. After the Chauhan Rajputs seized control of Delhi from the Tomars, Prithviraj Chauhan, the ruling king refurbished and revamped the existing structure. The citadel and its fort walls now lie in ruins, visible and scattered around the Qutb complex, Saket, and Vasant Kunj areas. The Jamali Kamali Masjid and Tomb is a pre-Mughal dynasty structure built during the 1520s comprising two different ancient monuments. They stand here adjacent to one another, on one side a mosque dedicated to a famous Sufi saint by the name of Shaikh Jamali Kamboh and on the other side, a tomb for Kamali, an unknown person closely associated with the saint. A 16th-century tomb, it lies on the walls of Lal Kot and has a verandah on each side. The grave of Adham Khan lies right below the central dome. The arch made its first appearance in the Indian subcontinent at Balban’s Tomb and so this tomb is of historical and architectural importance as a piece of Indo-Islamic architecture. Built in the 17th century, the tomb of Shah Quli Khan is a magnificent octagonal structure with a giant white dome as its topping. It was raised entirely by using red and grey sandstone materials. The famous stepwell of Rajon Ki Baoli is one of the main attractions in the park because of its incredible intricate architecture. The well boasts symmetrical arched walls, a rectangular-shaped well, and stonework masonry in great detail.

Mehrauli Archaeological Park is open from sunrise to sunset and there is no entry fee to view what treasures lie within.

Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya
The Prime Ministers’ Museum or the Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 14 April 2022. Located next to the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, the museum pays tribute to all of India’s post-independence Prime Ministers. Besides memorabilia, there is an audio and visual tour of speeches from the Red Fort and a virtual helicopter ride.

Building I of the museum houses the Toshakhana Zone which displays the treasures gifted to various Prime Ministers. Other parts of the museum are dedicated to different aspects of India’s history. The Making of the Constitution room displays the debates and documents made by the Constituent Assembly. Democratic India showcases the understanding of parliament and democracy. The India – China War room has photographs and a history of the war. The Nehru Gallery, his study room, sitting room, and bedroom are also open for visitation.

Building II has a Parichay room that introduces the Prime Ministers of India. The zones for each Indian Prime Minister display their achievements and speeches. The Bhavishya ki Jhalkiya room takes the visitors on a virtual helicopter ride exploring what the future holds for the country. The Time Machine room virtually displays the changes that took place over the years in India. Using Augmented Reality one can take a selfie with the Prime Minister or the Handwriting Robot can write a message signed by the Prime Minister that one can take home.

The museum is open in the summer months between March to October from 10 am to 6 pm and in the winter months between November to February from 10 am to 5 pm. It is closed on Mondays and Gazetted Holidays and has an entry fee of INR 20 for adults while it is free for students studying until class 12. For foreigners, the entry fee is INR 350.

National Museum
Also known as the National Museum of India, the National Museum is one of the largest museums in the country, situated on the corner of Janpath and Maulana Azad Road. Established in 1949, the museum boasts of possessing 200,000 artworks, both Indian and foreign, and is maintained by the Ministry of Culture, Department of India. Covering an extensive range of products from prehistoric times to modern works of art, the museum traces the rich cultural heritage of nations across the world, over 5000 years.

The museum also houses the National Museum Institute of the History of Arts, Conservation and Museology which was added as a different section in 1983. Since 1989, this section runs different courses in History of Arts, Conservation and Museology for Master and Doctoral degrees. Besides, the repository boasts of 4th and 5th century BC relics, dating to the times of the Buddha and the Harappan Civilization in addition to numerous wood carvings, paintings, sculptures, murals, textiles, and armoury. The two-storeyed building has segregated chambers to display antiques of different periods and covers all departments including Archaeology, Decorative Arts, Jewellery, Manuscripts, Textiles, Numismatics, Epigraphy, Central Asian Antiquities, Anthropology, Pre-Columbian American and Western Art Collections.

In the winters of 1947-48, an exhibition on Indian arts and artefacts was set up in the Royal Academy of London. Post the event in London; the exhibition curators intended to display the entire collection in India before returning the artefacts to the respective individual museums. And in 1949, an exhibition was organised on the premises of the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The massive success of the exhibition led to the formation of a permanent National Museum. On 15 August 1949, the museum housed in Rashtrapati Bhawan was inaugurated by the then Governor-General of India, C. Rajagopalachari. In 1955, the museum was moved to its current location and was formally inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1960. Until 1957, the museum was run by the Director-General of Archaeology, but today it is maintained and managed by the Ministry of Culture.

The National Museum boasts an extensive number of galleries possessing many exhibits and relics of ancient cultural heritage. The Harappan Gallery houses various artefacts from the Indus Valley Civilization. The prominent displays include the dancing girl and the priest’s head. Apart from this, the gallery flaunts various terracotta sculptures, bone structures, ivory, semi-precious stones and numerous seals found during excavations. Spanning three dynasties, the Maurya, Shunga and Satvahana Art Gallery has objects spanning the 4th century BC to the 1st century BC. The relics in this gallery showcase the Greek influence, which includes fragments of the railings and structures from ancient stupas. An important period in the religion of Buddhism, this gallery has depictions of Buddha’s life in the form of inscriptions or carvings without any real sculpture or physical form.

The Kushana Gallery depicts objects from the Kushan period ranging from the 1st to the 3rd centuries BC. This gallery presents a demonstration of the Gandhara School of Art and the Mathura School of Art and is also the period when Buddha was shown in a physical form. The Gupta Gallery depicts the Gupta period from the 4th to the 6th century BC. The gallery is a celebration of marvellous sculpture and religious iconography with exhibits of Goddesses Ganga and Yamuna and magnificent sculptures of other gods and temples. The Medieval Gallery is subdivided into Early and Late Medieval Artefacts. Early Medieval artefacts cover the Palas, Chalukyas and Pratiharas between the 7th and 10th centuries, after the fall of the Gupta Empire. The Late Medieval artefacts have sculptures from the 10th to the 13th centuries, of the Hoysalas, Gajapatis, and Chauhans.

The Decorative Arts Gallery showcases decorative articles across centuries including collections of ivory, jade and ceramics, thrones of Indian rulers, Hindu and Jain pitakas, metalware, and jewellery. The Miniature Painting Gallery displays around 17,000 paintings from all over India, extending over Mughal, Rajasthani, Deccani, Pahari and others styles. The main themes of the paintings are the Mahabharat, the Ramayana, the Puranas, Ragamala, and Baburname. The Buddhist Art section houses the extensive relics, specimens and antiques from the life and times of the Buddha.

In addition, the museum also houses a compact but airy auditorium with a seating facility of 250 people. A brief film introducing the auditorium is screened several times a day and occasionally, the auditorium also screens film shows on art, history and heritage. A 75-minute audio tour can be facilitated at some extra cost, and is available in English, Hindi, French, German and Japanese. Indians need to pay INR 100 for the Hindi language and INR 150 for other languages while this is included in the entry tickets for foreigners.

The museum is closed on Mondays. Tuesdays to Fridays it is open between 10 am to 6 pm. Over the weekend, on Saturdays and Sundays, it is open between 10 am and 8 pm. Entry fees are INR 20 for Indians and children studying upto class 12 enter free with identity cards. For foreigners, the entry ticket cost is INR 650 which includes an audio guide.

Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
Housed within the premises of the Teen Murti Bhavan, the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library is an autonomous institution established in the memory of India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Founded in 1964, after the death of Pandit Nehru to foster research and preserve modern and contemporary history and the Indian Independence Movement, the museum is currently managed and maintained by the Department of Culture. Besides being the primary source of detailed information on Nehru, the repository also has archives of Mahatma Gandhi’s writings, in addition to private documents of C. Rajagopalachari, B. C. Roy, Jayaprakash Narayan, Charan Singh, Sarojini Naidu and Rajkumari Amrit Kaur. The museum conducts talks, workshops, special shows and live interaction programmes as well as quizzes and activities both for children and adults.

Sprawling over 30 acres, the complex comprises an elaborate museum in the eastern wing and a library in the western wing. The depository is a treasure trove of facts and data about the freedom struggle of India. Due to growth in the research data, an exclusive library building was added in 1974 and a centre for contemporary studies was added in 1990. The complex also houses a planetarium.

Teen Murti Bhavan was the residence of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and after the museum was established, in the eastern wing of the complex, some of the rooms were preserved in their original state like the drawing room, study and bedroom. The galleries are an insight into the Indian Independence Movement. The Teen Murti Bhavan complex also houses a specialized library which can be made use of at a cost of a nominal fee charge. The library is a treasure trove of valuable newspapers and journals and research materials. The diverse collection includes 267,000 printed books and over 200,000 photographs from the freedom struggle movement. There is a special collection of books by Nehru called Nehruana concerning his writings, thoughts and political beliefs. The gallery also boasts 2,02,415 photographs from Indian history which are largely used by newspapers, magazines and journals.

The planetarium hosts shows on celestial bodies and the solar system. The show in English runs at 11:30 am and 3 pm while the show in Hindi runs at 1:30 pm and 4 pm. Entry fees are INR 50 for adults, INR 30 for children between 4 and 12 and INR 20 for school children in groups. The museum is closed on Mondays and other days it is open between 10 am and 5 pm. There is no entry fee to access the museum and library.

Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum
Located inside the premises of Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum was inaugurated in 2014 by the then-President of India, Pranab Mukherjee. The depository showcases invaluable artefacts from art, culture and history. The complex is situated alongside Circuit 2 within the compound and has been further segregated into three sections – The Clock Tower, The Stables and The Garage. The Garage is the most recent addition to the complex inaugurated in 2016.

Built for a cost of over 80 crores in two years, the underground museum houses gifts given to the country from all over the world, since the time of the first President, Dr Rajendra Prasad. The galleries have been facilitated with virtual reality equipment and multi-screen projectors to provide a live element to the story-telling feature. The museum has an art gallery which hosts exhibitions frequently as well as a platform displaying speeches from former presidents through projection.

The museum has been segregated into three galleries. The Clock Tower was originally built in 1925 by Sir Edward Lutyens and was known as the Band House. Previously, it was used as residential quarters and post office for Rashtrapati Bhavan but currently, the building is used as the reception for the Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum Complex or RBMC. The square structure is 23 feet high and has neatly cut corners; it is graced with alcove arches and lion heads for fountains. Two sturdy pillars with a tiny patio are at the entrance to the chamber and a vintage clock system, a product of the famous James & Joyce company adorns the central dome. The Stables is the section of the museum that displays and preserves the gifts given to former presidents and ministers from personalities all over the world. Before the inception of this museum, the gifts and articles were stored at a place called the Toshkhaana inside Rashtrapati Bhavan. To display the valuables to an audience, this gallery was created as a state-of-the-art museum. Besides the gifts, it has a collection of arms, furniture, sculptures, wood carvings, and archival material. Based on the name, the gates and windows of this chamber have horse-shoe images on them. The chamber has been divided into three more sections – the left corridor, the long hall and the right corridor. While the left corridor holds the actual gift articles received, the long hall is further cut up into the War Scene Gallery, the Furniture Gallery and the PBG Gallery. The right corridor again has gifts, paintings and other memorabilia. Within the Stables is also a Coach House which was originally used to house the carriages but now is equipped with material depicting the ancient history of the nation through pictures, articles and contextual references. The Garage is the last section of the complex and derives its name from the fact that previously it was used as a garage for the President’s Estate. The gallery showcases the Presidents of India, their history and political journeys, the ceremonies hosted at the President’s Estate and the like. It has three floors, ground, upper basement and lower basement.

The museum is open between 9 am and 4 pm every day except Mondays when it is closed. Children below the age of 8 have free entry while adults need to pay INR 50. For a large group of 30 people, the cost is INR 1200.

Indian War Memorial Museum
Located in the Naubat Khana within the premises of the historic Red Fort, the Indian War Memorial Museum was built to pay tribute to the Indian soldiers who fought for the country. Spread over two floors, the galleries depict the military history of India with arms, weapons, a variety of daggers, chest armour and other objects of war. The first gallery has a brilliant miniature model of the war scene between Babur and Ibrahim Lodi. The other exhibits in this section include swords, daggers, helmets, armour, gilded weapons, and battle axes. The next two galleries are filled with replicas of slightly evolved weapons which comprise bombshells, pistols, machine guns, and gunpowder among othersn mostly used during World War I.

The following two galleries showcase European influence over weapons and communication facilities like the telegraph, telephone, radar, and signal lamps. It also displays uniforms, badges, flags and ribbons of the officers from lands like New Zealand and Turkey. There is also a display of the complete dress of the Maharaja of Jodhpur in the museum bedecked with a belt, jewellery, turban and sword. The museum is open daily between 10 am and 5 pm and entry fees for Indians is INR 5, for Indian students is INR 1, and for foreigners is INR 100. Camera and video recording fees are INR 25.

National Handicrafts Museum
Popularly known as the Crafts Museum, the National Handicrafts Museum is a centre for varied specimens of handicrafts, textiles and local decor and to preserve, protect and revive the tradition of local handicrafts. Located in the far corner of Pragati Maidan in Delhi, the museum is designed by Charles Correa and is currently under the management of the Ministry of Textiles. The Lota Café on its grounds which serves regional cuisine is famous as is the Museum Shop.

Today, the museum houses over 33,000 assorted collections of various crafts collected over the last 60 years from different Indian states. The diverse collection includes exhaustive textiles and fabrics, bronze and metal lamps, sculptures, wood carvings, bamboo crafts, terracotta figurines, and tribal paintings. Among the multiple galleries housed in the complex, the popular ones include the Tribal and Rural Craft Gallery, the Gallery of Courtly Crafts, the Textile Gallery, and the Gallery of Popular Culture. A mini model of a village spread over 5 acres is located on the premises which displays actual generic exhibits depicting the life of rural India. The museum also has a library, an auditorium, a research centre, and a laboratory.

The Jewellery and Valuables collection flaunts a beautiful collection of Indian antiques and vintage jewellery. It showcases a metal plate called Theva plate with historical scenes depicted on it, a skull neckpiece dating back to the early 20th century, a metal neckband worn by Naga warriors, a ruby-studded Mangamalai or mango necklace popular in Tamil Nadu and a Hansli which is popular in Rajasthan from the late 18th century. The gallery has a copper pot from the early 19th century, a brass figurine of Radha from the 18th century, a peacock casket, popularly known as Mayur Phorua, the head of Goddess Gauri, an incarnation of Goddess Parvathy, Bidriware utensils from the late 18th century, and other deities in metal. In the Matting and Weaving section, products include hukkas made from bamboo stalks, floor matting called Sheetalpatti, and cane and bamboo grain baskets. The Textiles collection has different textile products like temple hangings, sarees with hunting scenes called Shikargah, loom-woven vintage shawls, patched clothes, a story depicting kerchiefs, and block prints among others. In addition, the museum boasts a vast collection of terracotta figurines, glazed pottery, wooden Krishna panels, Jali latticework, wood carvings, toys and masks, Indian folk paintings, ancient opium containers, gunpowder cases and other antiques.

The Bhuta Sculpture Gallery showcases the Bhuta Cult who worship spirits, synonymous with the coastal region of Karnataka. The Folk and Tribal Crafts Gift Gallery showcases the folk and tribal traditions of India and has a collection of folk paintings and frescos and different daily objects from across the nation. The Cultic Crafts Gallery displays sculptures, accessories, products and objects of rituals from different religious practices of India. The Court Craft Gallery has a collection of home decor and valuable products which used to adorn ancient palaces and royal homes. The Textile Gallery has several textile and handloom products, both hand woven and machine-made from different states of India.

Cafe Lota at the museum is a contemporary restaurant serving sumptuous and healthy regional Indian dishes. The restaurant is decorated with beautiful terracotta figurines, and soft music is played. The cafe is open from 8 am to 8:30 pm every day of the week except Mondays. The Crafts Museum is also closed on Mondays and other days is open between 10 am and 5 pm. Entry Fee to the museum is INR 20 for Indians and INR 2—for foreigners.