Culture

Dance & Music

As the seat of empires for centuries, and with royal as patrons, Delhi has long been a cultural centre, attracting the best of painters, musicians and dancers. Though today's patrons have changed, Delhi is more than ever the cultural capital of the country, and is also visited by foreign dancers, musicians and theatre groups en route to the Far East.

October to March is the cultural season of Delhi, during which time a plethora of events take place in the fields of the visual and performing arts. The best of the performing arts representing the range of classical dance forms and schools of music from all over India can be viewed at

  • Kamani Auditorium,
  • the Chamber Theatre at Triveni Kala Sangam,
  • FICCI Auditorium,
  • the India International Centre,
  • Siri Fort,
  • LTG Auditorium,
  • Pragati Maidan and
  • Sri Ram Centre,
where Delhiites can enjoy the privilege of seeing, and listening to, the legendary gurus as well as their disciples.

Music lovers look forward to the Shankarlal, Dhrupad and Tansen Festivals in February and March and the Vishnu Digamber Festival in August, at which India's greatest musicians perform. This is in addition to concerts throughout the year.

Films & Theatres

Film buffs eagerly await the National Film Festival and the bi-annual International Film Festival, held in January. Apart from commercial cinema houses, films are periodically screened at

  • the Max Mueller Bhavan,
  • the Alliance Francaise,
  • the Japan Cultural Centre,
  • the British Council Division,
  • the Russian Centre for Science and Culture and
  • the Hungarian Information Centre.

Theatre in Delhi receives a constant impetus from the presence of the National School of Drama. The variety offered ranges from Hindi translations of European plays, to regional theatre, as well as folk forms.

Art Galleries

Delhi's numerous art galleries reflect the country's burgeoning art scene. Well-known and new artists from all over the country display their works in these galleries. Notices of exhibitions are given in daily newspapers and specific city magazines.

Among the active galleries are Art Galleries

Crafts

Traditionally crafts, too, have long been practised in Delhi. The city was particularly well known for its silver and gold enamelling, and zari or embroidery in gold thread. Mastercraftsmen in both crafts still live in the Walled City where there are also miniature painters.

Delhi also has fine potters, wooden toy makers, kite makers and lacquer craftsmen. In Old Delhi, it is not unusual to come upon a traditional workshop. The wealth of Indian handicrafts can be enjoyed at the Crafts Museum at Pragati Maidan, at the State Emporia on Baba Kharak Singh Marg, and at Dilli Haat, which is Delhi Tourism's popular venue for crafts bazaars throughout the year.

Museums

Delhi has some of the finest museums in the country. The National Museum on Janpath is the premier repository of antiquities. Built in 1960, it has an extraordinary collection representing the entire span of Indian civilisation from pre-historic times. Its galleries include finds from the Indus Valley Civilisation; superb sculptures in stone, and bronzes from the Chola period; the largest collection of miniature paintings in the world; manuscript; a Buddhist Gallery, including relics of the Buddha from Piprahwa; the exquisite Jewellery Gallery; the Anthropological Gallery of tribal arts; galleries devoted to decorative and applied arts, Maritime Heritage and Pre-Columbian arts; and the Central Asian Antiquities Gallery of Auriel Stein's finds along the ancient Silk Route (The great murals however are on display at the adjacent Archaeological Survey of India).

The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), housed in the residence of Jaipur's former Maharajas has a superb collection of Paintings dating from 150 years ago to the present date. Company School paintings of the 19th and early 20th Centuries and the works of Rabindranath Tagore, Jamini Roy and Amrita Sher Gil hold pride of place amidst exhibits which give an overview of the evolution of Modern Indian Paintings and Sculptures. The National Museum and the National Gallery of Modern Art periodically organise special exhibitions.

The Rail Transport Museum is a must for Rail buffs. Its vintage displays include the oldest locomotive in the world - still working; the Viceregal Dining Car ( 1889 ) and the Prince of Wales Saloon (1876). Children can enjoy a ride on the miniature rail track.

The Nehru Memorial Museum is at Teen Murti House where Jawaharlal Nehru lived for 16 years till his death in 1964. Its special charm is that the rooms have been preserved as they were. Not far from here is the Indira Gandhi Memorial where one gets a glimpse of the life of the late Prime Minister. The Gandhi Memorial Museum has a collection of memorabilia on Mahatma Gandhi.

The Crafts Museum at Pragati Maidan has galleries displaying India's rich tradition of Handicrafts. An added attraction is the presence of Craftspersons who are brought here from different part of the country to demonstrate their skills.

In this central part of the city are also located the National Philatelic Museum at Dak Bhawan, the National Museum of Natural History, Mandi House, and the Malliah Memorial Theatre Crafts Museum on Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg. The Tibet House Museum on Lodi Road has a fine collection of tankhas, jewellery and ritual objects. En route to Old Delhi are the Shankar's Dolls Museum and the Gandhi Museum opposite Rajghat.

The Red Fort has the Museum of Archaeology related to the Mughal Era, and the Museum of Arms and Weapons which traces the development of arms from the Mughal age to the First World War.

Listing of Cultural Centers

Delhi