Fondly called the “Queen of Hill Stations”, Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, is one of the striking hill stations in India and among the must include places in Himachal Tour Packages. Due to its colonial architecture, breathtaking landscape, and rejuvenating views of lofty Himalayas, Shimla is an all-time favorite holiday destination for many travellers. Besides all these, museums are the places you should not miss out on your trip to Shimla as these museums educate the visitors about the history, people, and tradition of Shimla by showcasing the precious age-old coins, manuscripts, dresses, and weapons.
Here is the list of some popular museums in Shimla that take people on a memorable trip of past and present.
Shimla State Museum
Placed at the top of Mount Pleasant, Shimla State Museum is one of the prominent places to visit in Shimla. Also known as Himachal State Museum, the museum was established in the year 1974 to preserve the state’s rich cultural and archaeological artifacts. With various galleries, the museum has a rich display of the cultural, artistic, and archaeological heritage of Himachal Pradesh. The lifestyle and culture of the people of the Himalayas are reflected in the paintings. Stoneworks of Bajaura and Masrur belonging to the 8th century are seen here as part of Shimla tour packages. The museum also features a doll gallery that showcases a collection of Himachali brides and tribal dolls. There is also a separate room dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, displaying his photos when he visited Shimla and his political cartoons that comment on his relations with the British. The museum houses a library, which has a wide range of collections of historical books. The colonial-style building amidst marvelous lawns in itself is an inspiring sight.
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Army Heritage Museum
Set up in 2006 by the Army Training Command of Shimla, the Army Heritage Museum is one of the astonishing museums of its kind in India, and among the top Shimla tourist places. It is dedicated to the Indian Army and has all the collectibles that take you back to 2500 BC. The motto and culture of the Indian Army are very well represented through the various items like weapons, uniforms, flags, armory, the relation between army and the nation, information about UN peacekeeping forces, the numerous awards, honors, and recognition provided to the brave soldiers, history of Shimla, and the conservation of flora and fauna of the region. Here, one can find the landmarks of the 1971 battle and the Kargil war. Besides, visitors also get to know about the warriors like courageous Maharana Pratap, Rani Laxmibai, Shivaji Maharaj, Guru Gobind Singh, Tipu Sultan, etc. who never gave an inch to the outsiders and died heroic deaths. Besides, the surrender letter that Pakistan signed during the 1971 war is also exhibited here.
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Baba Bhalku Rail Museum
Another popular museum in Shimla is Baba Bhalku Railway Museum which was inaugurated in 2011 as a tribute to the man Bhalku who guided the construction of the rail line with his supernatural powers. Bhalku worked as a laborer on the rail line and when there were problems in getting the right alignment of the track, he just guided the engineers and marched ahead of them. There are several displays of machines and engines. along with steam locomotive headlights, brass lamps, lanterns, and ticket punching machines. A rail liner used on the track and dated 1899 is amongst the oldest object in the museum, Shimla, among the top Himachal tourist places. The museum has some very interesting parts from the pages of history in the form of a 1930 lost property register. The register has details of the lost properties like bags, umbrellas, caps, and coats left in the waiting rooms of the station or the train. There are also some very rare old photographs of the rail line, stations, and the tunnels en-route.
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Shimla Heritage Museum
If you are a history buff and want to get a clear picture of the history and culture of pre-independent Shimla, the Shimla Heritage Museum has to be on your bucket list. The Shimla heritage museum is housed in a 120-year-old heritage building itself, formerly known as the US Club in Shimla, among the top hill stations near Delhi. The museum flaunts a set of over 50 rare pictures displaying colonial structures including the Viceregal Lodge, Rippon Hospital, Post Office, Town Hall, Gaiety Theatre, Combermere Bridge, Vidhan Sabha, Gorton Castle, Railway Board, Central Telegraph Office, and Barnes Court which are now an integral part of Shimla’s heritage.
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Johnnie’s Wax Museum
Johnnie’s Wax Museum is a new museum located near Willow Banks in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. It is the first wax museum in Himachal Pradesh, and one of the interesting places to visit in Shimla. Inspired by London’s Madame Tussauds museum, the Johnnie’s Wax Museum was opened in the year 2016. The museum boasts 16 life-size statues of famous personalities from different backgrounds including Mahatma Gandhi, Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, the ex-President of the USA, Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, Johnny Depp, Michael Jackson, Paul Walker (actor of the Fast and Furious), Amir Khan, Harry Potter, James Bond, Tony Stark, Dwayne Johnson, Lionel Messi (Soccer Player), Indian rapper Honey Singh, Justin Bieber, and Salman Khan, etc. Besides, tourists can also get a wax replica of their hand for just Rs. 450. The unique feature of Johnnie’s wax museum is that statues of the museum are made by the artists who designed the London wax statue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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Santhi is an avid traveler and primary contributor to the blogs at Trawell.in. She has explored most of the states in India and gained vast knowledge on tourist destinations in India and abroad. She also contributes content to other travel websites.