Our visit to Government Art Gallery was very interesting. It is located at Pantheon Road, Egmore and was established in 1851. It is the second oldest museum in India, the other one being at Kolkata. We reached the museum in the afternoon and joined the crowd that was waiting to get inside. The museum was open for the visitors from 9.30 am to 5 pm on all days of the week, except for Fridays and national holidays.
The entrance fee was Rs.15 per person. For foreign visitors it is Rs.250. If you want to take any photographs, you have to pay Rs.200 and for video cameras it is Rs.500.
Taking the entry tickets we got inside and saw the museum theatre, which was semicircular in shape. The large hall in the theatre has about 600 seats and a stage. The hall is now used to conduct lectures, conferences and meetings, and workshops. The museum is built on an area of 16.25 acres and consists of six buildings and 46 galleries.
We visited the art gallery where we saw paintings of some of the famous painters in India. It had Mughal paintings, and Tanjore paintings as well as the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma. Next to the art gallery was the children’s museum, which has puppets, dolls, science galleries, etc.
In the main building, we saw botany gallery, animal gallery, sculptures of ancient India and philately gallery. They were all worth visiting. The Bronze gallery contained a large number of bronzes from South India, mainly from the periods of the Pallavas and the Cholas.
We saw the famous bronze statue of Nataraja or Lord Siva in the dancing form. There were also the statues of Siva and Parvati, Vishnu, Ganesha, Rama and Sita in different postures. A number of Jain sculptures were also seen in the gallery. We also visited the Contemporary Art Gallery, which had many paintings of Indian artists. There were many modern paintings too. The visit took us a few hours and by the time we completed the tour, we were too tired and hungry. We got into the nearest restaurant and had some snacks and tea to refresh ourselves.