National Museum

New Delhi

This glorious, if dusty, museum is full of treasures. Mind-bogglingly ancient, sophisticated figurines from the Harappan civilisation, almost 5000 years old, include the remarkable Dancing Girl, and there are also some fine ceramics from the even-older Nal civilisation. Other items include Buddha relics, exquisite jewellery, miniature paintings, medieval woodcarvings, textiles and musical instruments. Don't miss the immense, five-tier wooden temple chariot built in South India in the 19th century.

Allow at least two hours for a proper visit. Bring your passport to obtain an audio guide (included in the foreigner ticket price; ₹150 extra for Indian tourists). There's also a cheap-as-chips cafe inside the museum gates and round to the left. You don't have to visit the museum to use the cafe; handy because eating options are limited round here.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby New Delhi attractions

1. Rajpath

0.14 MILES

Rajpath (Kingsway) is a vast parade linking India Gate to the offices of the Indian government. Built on an imperial scale between 1914 and 1931, it was…

2. Vijay Chowk

0.61 MILES

Vijay Chowk marks the crossroads between Sansad Marg and Rajpath, close to the President's Palace.

3. India Gate

0.66 MILES

This imposing 42m-high stone memorial arch was designed by Lutyens in 1921. It pays tribute to around 90,000 Indian Army soldiers who died in WWI, the…

4. Gandhi Smriti

0.69 MILES

This poignant memorial to Mahatma Gandhi is in Birla House. He was shot dead on the grounds by a Hindu zealot on 30 January 1948, after campaigning…

5. Sansad Bhavan

0.75 MILES

This circular, colonnaded building, designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker, was where the 1947 handover of power from Britain to the newly…

6. South Secretariat

0.79 MILES

South Secretariat was designed by Herbert Baker and built in 1912; it houses government offices and is not open to the public.

7. North Secretariat

0.81 MILES

Built in 1910 by the British, this monumental building still contains administrative government offices and is not open to the public.

8. National Philatelic Museum

0.86 MILES

Housed in an annex of this branch of India Post, the National Philatelic Museum displays sets of stamps featuring the gamut of Indian life, from…