About a century old, it is famous as both a tourism destination and as a historical symbol for Nepal.
Rashtriya Sangrahalaya (National Museum) of Nepal is located in Chhauni. It is known as the largest museum in the country and is also the oldest one. About a century old, it is famous as both a tourism destination and as a historical symbol for Nepal. The main three buildings cover the arena. All three of the buildings carry their theme of the exhibition. The building on the left is the Art Gallery, one on the right is the Museum of Natural History, whereas moving straight ahead, you will enter the Buddhist Art Gallery. All these three museums portray and exhibit its collection beautifully surrounding its concept.
Originally named Chhauni Silkhana, which translates to ‘the stone house of arms and ammunition’, it mostly displayed armaments in a historic old palace constructed decades earlier by Bhimshen Thapa, second prime minister of Nepal and great national hero of the country. Then, it was only in 1938 that Prime Minister Juddha Samsher J.B. Rana opened it to the public. Only then the other buildings were constructed, and the entire arena was named National Museum (Rashtriya Sangrahalaya).
The Art Gallery houses metal works, wood and stone carvings of the olden eras. One of the most precious is the exceptional statue of Jayavarman, which dates back to the 2nd century, which was found in Hadigaon in the process of a house foundation. The 15th century Nritya Devi is a restored wooden sculpture with many intricate details. There also are paintings of "Krishna Lila" depicting the miraculous deeds of Lord Krishna. Much Nepalese art has records of being stolen. The gallery also exhibits some of the stolen artworks that were returned. Other extrinsic motifs, carved on teak, sal, or rosewood, on mountable window frames contemplate the sophisticated art of wood carving.
The Historical Museum on the right showcases the Natural Science Gallery, Historical Gallery, a Philatelic Gallery, Numismatics Museum, and the Doll Gallery. The Science section has various flora and fauna in the exhibition, including the pelt, horn, skeletons of tiger, leopard, red panda, flying squirrel, whale, many species of birds. This section covers a wide variety of biodiversity – mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, butterflies, and insects. The Military section in the Historical Gallery has some fascinating artifacts from all the eras. Leather canons, cane helmets, submachine guns, Birgun are in the show. Also, a sword presented by Napoleon III and a lively painting of tiger hunting, the royal sport is on display. The Philatelic Gallery and Numismatics Museum preserve the old, rare copper, silver, and gold coins, some that even date back to the Lichhavi era (5th to 7th century). The doll gallery has a manifold of the creative art of doll making and manifests a collection of dolls from all over the world. These are some international presents to the female royalty over the years.
The straight-ahead building known as the Buddhist Art Gallery is where the Buddhist art of the kingdom of Nepal manifests. The gallery is divided into three sections: the Terai, Kathmandu Valley, and the northern Himalayan section. The corridors also have some mandalas on display. The Terai section is more to display the birthplace of Lord Buddha – Lumbini. The Kathmandu valley comprises the statues of Buddha and Bodhisattvas in bronze. The northern Himalayan section focuses on the Tibetan influence on Buddhism. A sculpture of the 8th century depicting the Navity of Buddha is one of the remarkable structures here.
The museum is a historic pride of the nation. It is a dive into the olden era and learning of structures, arts, and artifacts of the old centuries.
The national museum is located at Chhauni on Museum Road.
It is about a 10-15 mins walk from Swayambhunath, and 25 mins walk from the west of Hanuman Dhoka.
Two shiny brass canons make it very easy to find the entrance of the Museum, which is open to the public every day except Tuesday and on public holidays.
An entrance fee is charged at the gate, and there is an extra charge for the cameras.