Does the love for art pull you towards the corridor of an art gallery every time? Ever felt like spending hours admiring those beautiful sculptures? If you are nodding your head to these questions, then The Government Museum and Art Gallery Chandigarh is the right place to visit. The museum is located at Jan Marg, 10C, Sector 10 C, Chandigarh 160011
It is open to the public every day (except Monday) from 10.00 A.M to 4.30 P.M.
It is one of the most amazing museums in the country. Designed by Le Corbusier, it is said to be the largest home to the collections of Gandhara sculptures, and Pahari and Miniature paintings with the best art gallery in Chandigarh.
You can spend your entire day, in this land of art and sculptures. If you’re from the City Beautiful, this part lies on the “Geri Route” which is another happening place of the city. The Government College of Art is situated right in the center of the city with one of the best sprawling campus; on one side and the Museums of Architecture and Natural History on the other. This place has served as one of the best museums in Chandigarh. It is heaven for tourists, researchers, students of school and families who have a special love for art in their hearts.
However, there are more stories and facts that might interest you about the Government Museum and Art Gallery. The stories and secrets hidden behind the art of the Museum make it more alluring to visitors.
Two Wars and the outcome is a Museum
We never studied anything about India’s war with China in 1962? And even if we did how it is be related with the Chandigarh Museum?
The war with China was meant to cease the extra expenditure and thus, the museum construction came to a halt. Though the construction workers threatened to sue the Punjab Government, due to such conditions it stopped. As soon as the morale of nation boosted after the India-Pakistan War in 1965 providing the funds back, this construction was revived back.
Hence, the city was gifted its first museum. Making its place even before we could have reached the museum, the Patton tank registered its presence. It was seized by the Indian Army during the 1965 war against Pakistan from Amritsar sector.
The Government Museum and Art Gallery Chandigarh architecture:
Ratna Fabri was one of the leading interior and furniture designers of that time. She proudly held her name as the interior designer and a part of creating The Government Museum and Art Gallery Chandigarh architecture. Her decor for various projects had won great accolade at the New York World Fair 1964, the Montreal and Osaka Fairs. Besides this, she was one of the artists who were in a great demand for Government decor projects.
Her creations including display units and furniture stand as timeless pieces in this art gallery in Chandigarh. It continues to be a part of the Museum’s heritage until today. And it won’t be an exaggeration to claim that her work at the Museum is her best creation.
The Stolen Paintings:
The trends that we follow nowadays have a legacy passed on from our ancestors. A similar curious trend is followed at the museum after a theft incident in 1970.
As they say, about 102 miniature paintings were stolen on the night of July 22, 1970. Although about 43 of were somehow returned to the museum in an anonymous parcel, since that day, museum staff regularly makes ‘prasad’ every fifteen days to avoid such accidents.
The Great Gandhara Sculpture Exchange:
Coming all the way from the National Museum in Delhi, The Government Museum and Art Gallery is decorated with the Jain Goddess Padmavati’s sculpture. Sitting comfortably outside the Museum she was brought in exchange for a Gandhara sculpture.
The Adi Granth at the Museum:
The sacred scripture of Sikhism, Adi Granth, also called Granth or Granth Sahib is a collection of nearly 6,000 hymns of the Sikh Gurus. After the partition, the Indian Army recovered many Adi-Granths from Gurudwaras in Pakistan. They were brought to Amritsar and given to Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.
But the manuscripts seen today at the Chandigarh Museum would have been cremated if it wasn’t noticed by Mr. Shamsher Singh, a librarian at SGPC. He found the name “Nirankari Durbar” written on these. Thus they were immediately handed to Mr. Man Singh Nirankari who then regained and preserved them. After a few years, he donated these to the Museum.
Gurcharan Singh’s Ceramic Gallery:
The museum has been a home to many different artists all over India. Bringing to you another story behind the pots you might come across during your visit, they say that one of the greatest figures in the world of contemporary Indian pottery was Gurcharan Singh. He was the founder of the Delhi Blue Pottery Trust and is known to single-handedly bring awareness of studio pottery into India. But during the riots of 1984, his Delhi studio was attacked by the mobs. Thus, he decided to gift his precious art to the Museum for safety. And now the museum is safeguarding his art – around 250 pots.
Government museum and art gallery have a nominal entry charge of INR 10. The place stands as a gift built on Corbusier’s concept of “a Museum of Unlimited Growth”. It is one of the best museums in Chandigarh and a witness to many stories. It is clear from these beautiful narratives how an ever-growing collection it has. The museum has been a home to art and art-lovers right from day one giving the city of Chandigarh a culture to be proud of. To keep up this legacy in flow, I am sure you will be enthralled after visiting this place.