The semi-darkness inside the building seemed to envelop me as I was virtually sucked inside and transported to another time and place. I embarked on a fascinating journey that had all begun with one of the greatest inventions and embodiments of Man’s ingenuity. The Wheel!
Have you heard of the Heritage Transport Museum near Delhi?
That was where I was. It was indeed fitting that we were visiting the Heritage Transport Museum, thanks to Tata Motors who had invited us to test drive their new car, the Tata Tigor and a drive to the Heritage Transport Museum was a part of the event.
Once I entered the museum and put on the headphones of the audio guide, I entered a wonderful world that took me on a flight of fantasy and I soared on the wings of imagination transcending the barriers of time, place and space.
Wheels and Pre-Mechanized Transportation
Wheels have always fascinated Man since their invention and these have been put to different uses. However, nothing has been revolutionised to such an extent as transportation. An exhibit traces the evolution of the wheel and how it has undergone a metamorphosis since its humble origins. Aren’t we all fascinated by wheels? As kids, the wheels hold a special attraction, who does not remember running after an old cycle tyre with a stick in hand!
As I move ahead on the wheels of time, I see a huge range of exhibits of the contraptions used during the era of mechanised transportation. Intricately designed howdahs with animal motifs rub shoulders with royal palanquins which once had the honour of carrying royalty around. Various types of carriages stand in the hall bereft of their animal tethers. Some of them are vintage horse drawn carriages while others are exotic elephant and camel drawn carriages. They stand in silent repose, ghosts of a time that is buried in the annals of history.
One of my earliest romances has been with trains and can never forget the excitement of seeing a train rumble past with its siren blaring as I stood near a level crossing, as a kid. The romance of trains endures to this day and hence I was excited to see a full-fledged railway carriage standing at the platform of a model railway station.
The carriage was a luxurious saloon which captures the elements of the grandeur of the traveling style of the royalty of Rajasthan.
I was fascinated by the vintage billboards that are displayed on the walls of the railway station that advertise vintage products. Another moment of history frozen in time for the benefit of people who were not a part of it. A collection of earthen cups with a kettle was a tea bridge that seemed to span the different frontiers of time.
The Ride of the Two Wheelers
We all remember our tryst with our first two wheeler, our very own bicycle, don’t we? The Two wheeler section of the Heritage Transport Museum sent a childish thrill coursing through my beings and my neurons seemed to dance with glee! The growth of the two wheeler movement in India is very well represented here through the exhibits that include cycles, scooters, moped, and motorcycles.
The childish glee of riding a bicycle for the first time and experiencing the feeling of flying and the sense of power as you feel the engine of a motorcycle revving up seem to have been captured in the silent exhibits of this section of the museum.
Another noteworthy feature of this section of the Heritage Transport Museum is that it pays tribute to the ingenuity of the Indian mind through the exhibits in the form of Phat-Phatiya and other vehicular contraptions.
The Autorickshaw Run
My travels across the cities as well as the smaller towns of India have always been a source of rich experiences for me. One aspect that I found really fascinating was the way the ubiquitous Autorickshaw (tuk-tuk) was decked and bedecked in different places. In some towns, each of them even had their own name and had a unique personality on account of being decorated differently. The autorickshaws seemed to reflect the unique culture of the places of which they were an integral part. The Heritage Transport Museum is home to two unique autorickshaws. One of them has been embellished by the genius of the Indian artist Yusuf Arakkal.
The shrill shouts of excited children seemed to waft in the air as I approached the section of the Heritage Transport Museum which housed various toys based on the imagination of their designers.
The child in me let out a shout of glee as I spied the cute and delightful exhibits. I wondered about the children who would have played with these toys in the ages gone by.
It’s All About Cars
They stood in silent serenity, different shapes and different colours, gleaming and ready to move. Their beautiful contours designed to seduce anyone who looked at them.
I was now in the automobiles section of the Heritage Transport Museum and I was lost in the charm of the beauties lined up there. The section is an ode to the Indian car scene since the beginning of motoring. 75 vintage cars are parked in an area that has been recreated to look like an Indian street from the past.
A vintage Chevrolet which has been re-designed with artistic finesse drew my attention and I was captivated by its sleek resplendence.
Each one of the cars gleamed with an elegance that belied their age. They all looked ready for a spin.
There were cars that had ‘starred’ in Bollywood movies and won the hearts of millions of people. There was the car that was used by Shahrukh Khan and gang in the movie, “Dil To Pagal Hai“, the car that was pulled by an elephant in “Haathi Mere Saathi” is also a part of the exhibit.
A cute little petrol station from the pages of history comes alive in this section of the Heritage Transport Museum. The minute detailing that is visible here is really wonderful.
The Museum also has sections on Aviation and Maritime transportation. Transportation and its evolution expressed through art also graces the galleries of the Heritage Transportation Museum.
Now that you have heard of the Heritage Transport Museum , would you not like to head out there? So the next time you are in Delhi, do look beyond the Qutub Minar and heritage sites of Delhi.
Before you do, take a look at the information below, it is sure to be useful to you.
- The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday between 10 AM to 7 PM and is closed on Mondays
- Single Day tickets cost INR 400 for adults and INR 200 for children under 12, Entry is free for children under 3 years
- The museum is fully accessible to wheel chair users
- The museum is located about 75 kilometres from Delhi and near Gurgaon
- For further details visit the official website of the Heritage Transport Museum
I was so lost in the world of Transportation, that time just flew and it was time to head back. Words fail to do justice to the wonderful experience that the museum has in store. As they say, pictures are worth a thousand words, so do check out our photo blog about the Heritage Transport Museum that features on our site:
We would like to know how you found this fascinating journey that took us back in time.
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