Government Museum and Art Gallery

Holiday Travel Guide
City Museum

Learn how the planned city of Chandigarh came to be at this architecture museum that sits within the city's premier historic institute.

Spend a day exploring Chandigarh's City Museum and its surrounding art- and archaeology-themed attractions. Housed within the Government Museum and Art Gallery complex, this institute traces the construction of the planned city through a series of diorama, model and blueprint exhibits.

The City Museum was built in 1997, on the 50th anniversary of India's independence from the British. Admire its angular concrete façade, which both contrasts with the green surrounds and complements Chandigarh's austere modern aesthetic. This design is a copy of the Exhibition Pavilion in Zurich and was meant as a tribute to Chandigarh's city architect, Le Corbusier.

Venture inside this minimalist edifice to browse exhibits of Le Corbusier's original sketches and models of Chandigarh, which was designed to be an energy efficient and nature-motivated "green city." Photographs of Chandigarh's development and preserved manuscripts document the evolution of the city, from plans to reality.

Go to the first floor to inspect models of the city and its future designs in an exhibit called Chandigarh: today and tomorrow. Downstairs, learn about the struggle for Indian independence and the reasons why Chandigarh was built in this region.

Be sure to explore the wings of the Government art gallery, where you’ll find a stunning collection of Gandharan sculptures. A few of these Greco-Buddhist-style crafts, which depict Buddha, date back to the second century. Pahari and Rajasthani paintings also feature in this collection.

Head to the Natural History Museum to check out fossil exhibits and displays chronicling the evolution of man, from Australopithecines to Homo erectus. Nearby, the National Gallery of Portraits features a panorama of photographs that depict freedom fighters for Indian independence.

Wander the surrounding gardens and enjoy a peaceful ambiance. The gardens are dotted with trees and contemporary sculptures, and the peaks of the Shivalik Mountain Range rise in the background.

The City Museum is located in sector 10-C, a northern district of Chandigarh. To get there, use local buses or rickshaws. An admission fee is charged and there is an additional camera fee. The complex is open Tuesday through Sunday and offers guided tours.

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