Government Museum and Art Gallery Chandigarh is a premier museum of North India having collections of Gandharan sculptures, sculptures from ancient and medieval India, and Pahari and Rajasthani miniature paintings. It owes its existence to the partition of India in August 1947. Prior to the partition, much of the collections of art objects, paintings, and sculptures present here were housed in the Central Museum, Lahore, the then capital of Punjab. The museum has one of the largest collections of Gandharan artifacts in the world.
After the partition, the division of collections took place on April 10, 1948. Sixty percent of objects were retained by Pakistan and forty percent of the collection consisting mainly of Gandharan sculptures and Indian miniature paintings ( Mughal and Pahari schools) fell in the share of India. Received in the month of April 1949, this collection was first housed in Amritsar then Shimla, Patiala, and finally shifted to Chandigarh.
The museum was inaugurated on 6 May 1968 by Dr. M. S. Randhawa, the then Chief Commissioner of Chandigarh.
The Government Museum and Art Gallery were built for the purpose of housing the artifacts received from the Lahore Museum during the partition of India. The building was designed by the Swiss-born French architect, Le Corbusier along with his associate architects namely Manmohan Nath Sharma, Pierre Jeanneret, and Shiv Dutt Sharma. The design was completed from 1960 to 1962 and construction took place between 1962 and 1967.
A fine collection of artworks and treasures is housed in this impressive state museum, including paintings of the Himalayas by Russian artist Nicholas Roerich, elegant carvings from the Buddhist Gandhara civilization, phulkari (embroidery work), and Sobha Singh’s much-reproduced portrait of Guru Gobind Singh. The Museum has four wings of which the largest and the most imposing is doubtless the building of the Art Gallery. Another wing constitutes the Natural History Museum, Chandigarh Architecture Museum, and National Gallery of Portraits.
The Museum building is divided into three levels. The first level is 33,000 sq ft comprising the Deputy Curator’s office, museum shop, reception, textile section, child art gallery, exhibition hall, reserve collection stores, conservation laboratory, and auditorium. Level 2 is 23,000 sq ft and comprises exhibition space for sections on Gandhara sculpture, Indian miniature paintings, stone, and metal sculpture, coins, and Indian contemporary art. Level 3 is 6,500 sq ft and has the library, Chairman’s room, and Gandhara sculptures’ reserve collection store.
The museum library is a rich repository of books on subjects of art, architecture, and the history of art. A special section is dedicated to Dr. M. S. Randhawa, containing archival records of his correspondence on the Making of Chandigarh, available to scholars in a digitized version. The adjacent auditorium serves as a lecture hall for extended activities of the museum such as lectures, film screenings, and cultural events.
Some Mains Collections are as follows :
- Metal sculptures
- Contemporary Indian Art and Other_Artefacts
- ₹ 10 per person
- ₹ 5 for the Camera
- Monday Closed (Holiday)
- Tuesday to Sunday – 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
Best museum in Chandigarh.
This museum has a nice collection of Gandharan sculptures, Pahari and Rajasthani miniature paintings and contemporary Indian art. Visit this place if you are interested in history and art.