Delhi Museum Crawl
Yesterday Madhu stayed home to sort thru our pictures from the previous days, while sis-in-law took me shopping to Delhi’s Lajpath Nagar. We reached there about 11am and the shops/stalls were only beginning to open for the day. But once they opened, there was a riot of colors. It was a lot of fun to browse through all the garment and shoe stores, which sold stuff at unbelievably cheap rates. Of course, they weren’t the best of quality but very tempting, nevertheless. I bought a kurthi for Rs.300 and a pair of sandals for Rs. 200 – and I bargained like a pro to get these prices – I was so proud of myself. We stopped at a chaat stall for plates of gol-gappe (or Pani-puri as we Mumbaiites like to call them) and I swear they were the best I have had so far in this trip. But I’m sure my cleanliness-minded husband would have fainted at the sight of that stall. From here, we went to the up-market M Block, which sold better quality ware at up-market prices. Here we shopped some more and ate some more chaat (a cleaner version and definitely not as tasty) before heading home.
Since we couldn’t tour Delhi’s National Museum on Monday (all city museums are closed on Mondays) we went back there today. Just like before, we hired a driver to take us around for the day. We got to the museum by 11am and then spent the next 2 hours browsing through the various sections.
The National Museum of Delhi is reputed to be the biggest in the country. However, it didn’t feel so, as many sections were under maintenance and not open for viewing. The ones that were open were well maintained and well marked. Of course, the markings were a little worn-out and the walls and fixtures could use some repair work but overall the museum was definitely worth the visit. My favorite section was the one with the collection of Bronze sculptures; they were phenomenal. The stone sculptures were damaged in some places and none were intact – but the bronze sculptures were absolutely perfect and shone brilliantly. Thankfully, cameras were allowed in to the museum and so Madhu had a great time clicking away. We saw many students sitting in corners and sketching in their art books – these ancient sculptures must provide so much knowledge and inspiration! Apart from bronze and stone sculptures, there were sections on miniature Indian paintings, coins, Buddhist art and Indian maritime ships, which were all wonderful.
Our next stop was the National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum. It is just about 10 minutes away from the National Museum. As we entered it, we realized that it is not a single building but a complex comprising of many small structures that held exhibitions of the various arts & crafts of the country. Cameras were allowed within the complex but not within the exhibition rooms, which was a little unfortunate. The whole complex was designed to look like a rural village with the exhibition rooms set up as homes in the village. There was an outdoor display of model rural homes from across the country and model bullock carts. There were a few stalls selling hand-made folk jewelry, handloom and handicrafts. The exhibition rooms displayed folk art, sculptures, jewelry as well as textiles from various regions – it was fascinating. But the best of them was an exhibition of a huge balcony or ‘Jharokha’ from an 18th century Rajasthani palace . The wooden, intricate, lattice work on the windows was unbelievable – we couldn’t stop staring at it. Right next to it was a 2-storey model of a UP Nawab’s house – this was very beautifully replicated as well. By the time we walked out of the museum it was 3pm and we had completely forgotten about lunch…
For lunch, we stopped at the famed Haldiram’s restaurant at Lajpath nagar. This is probably one of the cleanest places to eat Chaat in Delhi so Madhu was up for it. And I must admit that even though I prefer chaat from the streets, this place does serve some very tasty food. We ate our fill and headed home – it had been a great day out…
New Delhi, New Delhi, Delhi, India
+91 11 23018415
Crafts MuseumBhairon Marg
New Delhi, New Delhi, Delhi 110001, India
+91 11 23371370