Museums are an integral part of the travel experience giving travellers an opportunity to experience new aspects of culture, art and history. The first thing that comes to your mind when we talk about museums is Education, right? Museums are meant to display artefacts and practical information that can keep our curiosity aroused for a sustained duration. You will not believe how far people have actually taken this education to. Talk about the most random or crazy thing by your side and there’d be a museum built for it unless of course, you can trace its history. From black magic, kites, submarines to toilets there are museums that are dedicated to literally every topic imaginable. If you’re willing to venture off the beaten path then these unusual museums will surprise and delight you. Here are a few quirky museums in India that you should definitely visit.
INS Kurusura Submarine Museum
Location: Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
A very unique museum INS Kurusura was originally a Kalvari-class diesel-electric submarine of the Indian Navy. It is the first submarine which is converted into a museum in the whole of Asia and second in the world. This submarine was decommissioned after providing 31 years of service on 27 February 2001. Perched on the shoreline of Ramakrishna Beach in Visakhapatnam this beautiful fish-shaped black submarine displays and explains different aspects of a submariner’s life. Visitors can see torpedoes, the smallest possible bunk beds, toilets, kitchens, dive charts and communication equipment.
Fossil Park Museum
Location: Simaur, Himachal Pradesh
Also known as Shivalik Fossil Park the Fossil Museum of India is situated at Saketi in Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh. It is a unique place with preservation of Shivalik mammals and containing Shivalik fossils. Scientists believe that the Shivalik Hills which formed about twenty-five million years ago show the evolution of mankind. Do not forget to take your kids along as these things fascinate them to the core.
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Shankar’s International Doll Museum
Location: Nehru House, New Delhi
Nestled in the national capital the International Dolls Museum has about 6,500 dolls. The renowned political cartoonist K. Shankar Pillai founded this museum in 1965. It exhibits dolls from almost 85 countries giving it an international character. These dolls are classified into two parts. One part consists of the dolls collected from European countries such as the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Commonwealth of Independent States and the other section consists of dolls collected from other Asian countries, Middle East, Africa and India.
Paldi Kite Museum
Location: Ahmedabad, Gujarat
The city of Ahmedabad is globally renowned for Uttaran or the Kite Festival so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the city has an entire museum dedicated to kites. Bhanu Shah a kite enthusiast who donated his 50-year-old collection of rare kites to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation in 1984. It houses some rarest kites making it the first of its kind in India and second in the world. The museum displays not only the collection of kites but also showcases interesting illustrations and photographs as well like miniature paintings featuring Krishna and Radha.
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Sulabh International Toilet Museum
Location: Mahavir Enclave, New Delhi
The world-famous Sulabh International Museum of Toilets is a staple on the lists of unusual or weird museums around the world. Dedicated to the global history of sanitation and toilets the museum was developed by Bindheshwar Pathak - an international expert on sanitation. With exhibits dating back to 3000 BC the museum depicts the evolution of toilets and their varied designs. Interesting displays include toilet pots made of gold and silver that were once used by the Roman emperors, decorated Victorian toilet seats and privies. The prime objective of the museum is to spread awareness about the historical trends in the development of toilets, the significance of sanitation and in providing economical sanitation solutions.
Mayong Central Museum and Emporium
Location: Mayang, Assam
Mayong or Mayang is a village in Morigaon district of Assam that has been historically associated with the black magic and witchcraft. The name of the village itself is believed to have originated from the word ‘maya’ or illusion. Documenting this past the Mayong Central Museum displays a plethora of bizarre local artefacts including black magic books, witchcraft manuscripts, skulls and tools used in rituals. Visitors can learn about the origins of tantra and are given a demonstration of ancient rituals being performed to cast healing spells.
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Human Brain Museum
Location: Bengaluru, Karnataka
Your biology textbooks will come alive in this museum. Housed in the basement of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru the museum was set up in 1995 to promote research in neurobiology. The museum has over 300 brain specimens preserved in jars collected from donors and victims of road accidents. Each brain here has its own story to tell - either damaged in an accident or ravaged by a parasite. One can get to know the brain inside out – anatomy, neurology, physiology, psychology, psychiatry, and neurosurgery. Visitors even get to hold a real brain at the end of the tour!
Arna Jharna Museum
Location: Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Arna Jharna breaks the age-old perception of how a museum should look like. Established by the late Kama Kothari, one of the leading folklorist and historians who was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2004. This museum is all about celebrating the wide-open spaces of the desert and exploring its flora and fauna.
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Apart from organising interactive workshops linked to folk culture and traditional knowledge this museum also showcases more than 160 hand-made brooms produced by different rural communities.
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