Established in 1993, the ASI managed Archaeological Museum is located right next to Gwalior Fort in a former jail that was subsequently used as a hospital during colonial times.
Confusingly there are two archaeological museums in Gwalior, the other is a state run museum located at Gujari Mahal at the foot of the hill. If you only have time to visit one museum in Gwalior, this museum is a little smaller with the artifacts excellently displayed together with some useful information boards to help add a little more context to the exhibits.
The museum consists of a central hall (gallery 1), an adjacent room (gallery 2) and a verandah on two sides (galleries 3 and 4). It’s quite a compact little museum, and shouldn’t take any longer than 40 minutes to see everything on display inside.
The sculptures displayed in the galleries date from the 1st century BC all the way through to the 17th century AD, and have been collected from Gwalior and the surrounding countryside.
Here you can see a wide variety of different traditions and styles of art, from sites such as Amrol, Pawaya, Kherat, Ater, Naresar, Bateshwar, Padhawali, Sihonia, Terahi and Surwaya.
I have to say the ASI have done a great job here with the museum, and that extends to the staff that work here as well who were friendly, keen to answer questions, and clearly proud of their heritage.
Entry to this museum costs just 5 rupees, even for a foreigner. That probably makes it the best value for money of any entrance fee I’ve paid in India for a very long time.
Comparing that to 250 rupees I paid to enter the State run Archaeological Museum at Gujari Mahal, I would suggest that perhaps the ASI should increase their charges a little and put those proceeds to worthy causes.
Outside the museum in the compound further sculptures are displayed, with an imaginative seating area constructed from carved temple masonry collected from various temples. I thought it was a really creative thing to do, how many museums do you know where you can actually sit on some of the exhibits ? 🙂
I can highly recommend the ASI Archaeological Museum in Gwalior. It’s well worth spending a short amount to time visiting this little museum when you are up on the hill exploring monuments such as the Fort, Sas Bahu and Teli Ka Mandir.
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