Bharat Kala Bhawan Museum Varanasi

Bharat Kala Bhawan Museum
Vital Information for Visitors

Bharat Kala Bhawan Museum, BHU, Varanasi, UP

Open & Close:

OOpen on all days except Monday

07:00 AM - 01:30 PM (May & June)

10:30 AM – 04:30 PM ( Rest of the year)

Entry Fee:

INR 5 pp (for Indians)

INR 40 pp (for foreigners)


2 -3 Hours


Collection of paintings

One of the oldest museums of India, Bharat Kala Bhawan, located within Banaras Hindu University (BHU) campus, is a very important place to visit in Varanasi. Though the museum was established in 1920 AD but its location kept shifting to several locations within the city until 1962 AD. It was India’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru who laid the foundation of the existing museum building in 1950 and, in 1962 AD, the museum was shifted to its existing location. The first honorary chairman of the museum was Nobel Laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore. The entire development and up-gradation of the museum was carried out by Padmavibhushan Rai Krishnadasa, a famous Hindi literature luminary and one of the greatest pioneers of the country. He dedicated his whole life to the collection for 'Bharat Kal Bhawan'. This dedication and self-confidence of his life today is honouring Banaras Hindu University as Bharat Kala Bhawan. He was interested only in the combination of various art works, but he had an intimate belief in the compilation of Indian paintings. This is the reason that Bharat Kala Bhawan keeps one of its own reserves in the collection of miniature paintings not only at the national level but also at the international level. Bharat Kala Bhawan museum has emerged over the years as a sheer source of knowledge of Indian arts and culture.

Though a modest museum in terms of number of collections but with more than one lakh items like ancient scriptures, sculptures, paintings, miniatures, artefacts, coins, textiles etc, it happens to be treasure trove for the students of history, art, architecture and archaeology. The exact number of collection of the museum, as per the sources, is 1,04,376. The museum houses several galleries displaying all these artefacts. The names of the galleries are Nicholas Roerich Gallery, Mahamana Malaviya Vithika (Gallery), Chhavi (Paintings) Vithika, Nidhi (Treasure) Vithika, Sculptures Gallery, Decorative Arts Gallery and the Archaeological Art Gallery. These unique collections are aesthetically appealing, beautiful restored and have great historical importance. Bharat Kala Bhawan museum of Varanasi contains pictures & paintings of approximately 12,000 different styles. All these pictures have their own separate and exciting stories. In addition to Indian paintings, the museum has a collection of paintings painted in Nepal and Tibet dating back to 13th & 14th centuries. Jai Prakash Mall’s painted Tantric Pothi dates back to 1765 AD. Gemstones are remarkable. Pictures of the above mentioned styles painted on various mediums - paper, cloth, wood, mirror, elephant’s tooth, asbestos and leather, are the heritage of this museum, in addition to the reserve collection, the image displayed in Nicholas, Roerich, Alice Bonner and Banaras Vithika.

As one enters Bharat Kala Bhawan museum, there is a huge hall. The hall of the museum has a sculpture of a man lifting a great mass of stone (mountain) on his finger while standing on one leg with another hand on his hip. This figure is said to be of Lord Krishna who is lifting Govardhana Parvat. Lord Krishna took Govardhan on his finger, raised it as an umbrella and rescued everyone from the torrential rain. Several other rare images, depicting the existence of Krishna cult in Kashi during 15th and 16th centuries, are found only in this museum. Various sculptures of Gupta period kept here suggest that Krishna cult was very much in vogue in Varanasi.

One of the most beautiful galleries of Bharat Kala Bhawan is the painting gallery. This gallery has a lot of miniature paintings from Mughal courts and Hindu scriptures. Painting of a Hindu princess of Punjab Hills, paintings of contemporary artists and the Pahari paintings are the main adornments in this gallery. The museum also has a rich collection of Banarasi silk textiles & brocades, Pashmina and embroidered shawls from Kashmir, and also some rare Chamba rumals. The other collections apart from these include Buddhist scriptures, Hindu scriptures, manuscripts, Mughal miniatures, bronze statues, contemporary art-forms, metal craft, pottery, ivory goods, terracotta beads, jewellery, Gujarati paintings, Rajasthani paintings and many more things. In short, the items on display are Indian philately, manuscripts, literature, scriptures, paintings, textiles, costumes, archival materials, archaeological materials, decorative art, and personal collections.

Bharat Kala Bhawan museum is located at a distance of 11 km from Varanasi railway station. It is at a distance of 1.5 km from Birla Temple within BHU campus. It takes approximately one hour from railway station to reach the museum. People who visit the nearby Birla Temple make sure to visit the popular museum. The museum remains closed on the weekends and all university holidays. The tourist can visit the museum on weekdays from 10 am to 5.30 pm. The museum is open for everyone to visit at its working time.

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