India Heritage Transport Museum celebrates 5th anniversary

Unveiling the 1924 steam locomotive, fondly called as ‘Pride of Howrah’, was the star attraction at the 5th anniversary celebrations of India’s one and only Heritage Transport Museum, which was held last week.

The 1929 locomotive, which once belonged to the Burns Standard Limited Kolkatta, has been lying idle for the last 30 years ever since steam locomotives were phased out in India. The locomotive, which weighs around 25 tons and used to move on the broad gauge, is being completely renovated under a comprehensive plan that will see its roll out in the museum by March 2019, said Tarun Thakral, the museum’s managing trustee.

Adding to the splendor of steam beauties was a series of paintings titled ‘Nostalgia’ by eminent Indian artist Kishore Pratima Biswas, which showcased Indian railways of the early 1970s. Each of the idiosyncratic paintings tell the story of the daily life of the steam locomotive workshop of the Indian Railways.

Another highlight at the celebrations was a series of water-colors by Namita Minotra titled ‘Romancing the timeless beauties with a glitter of chrome’ on vintage motorcycles; and ‘Padmini’, a tribute to Mumbai’s Premier Padmini taxis, by artist Anjali, who aesthetically captured the spirit of a bygone carriage.

The fifth attraction to coincide with the five years of museum was ‘Wire-frame Automobiles by CARTIST. Since its inception in 2015, the Cartist Festival has been promoting automobile art among young artists of India.

Since the official opening of the museum on 7 December 2013, the Museum has inspired over 500,000 visitors from all walks of life. “We firmly believe that a museum’s role is to provide inspiration to all age groups and spark their creative instinct. These special projects reaffirm the museum’s philosophy of providing an enjoyable and exciting visitor experience,” said Mr. Thakral.

The Heritage Transport Museum, which ranks as one of the biggest in Asia and the largest one-man collection in post-Independence India, after the famous Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad, which was curated during the British rule.

The collections in the museum are the work of itis managing trustee; when children of his age were playing outdoor games, Mr. Tarun was playing with car and automobile toys. Over the years this flourished into an ambition leading to the setting up of the state-of-art Heritage Transport museum.

The museum an endeavor to showcase and interpret the multiple narratives of transport movement in India. The vision behind the museum is to share its rich and diverse collection with large number of people and give them a fun filled learning experience. The museum, which was conceptualized quite literally to transport people to a bygone era, brings to life the history and evolution of transport heritage in India through a rich and diverse collection of vehicles and associated memorabilia. The collection is representative of not just the objects directly related to transport, but also of the socio-cultural life and art associated with it.

The multiple-award-winning museum is home to more than 3,000 curated objects that weave a tale of India’s rich transportation history. The large and varied collection has been categorized into various sections:  pre-mechanized and heavy mechanized transportation, railways, aviation, maritime, collectible Indian toys on transport, rural and indigenous transportation, two wheelers and popular and tribal art section. The museum also has a rich contemporary art collection on display throughout the museum.

Located at Taoru-Gurgaon, the museum is an hour’s drive from New Delhi. Built on a 3-acre complex, Heritage Transport Museum is spread over four air-conditioned floors that offer over 100,000 square feet of exhibition space, a library and reference center, a mini auditorium, a souvenir shop, seminar rooms and a refreshment area.