Partition Museum Amritsar – World’s First Partition Museum
One of the most unique reserves of India’s colonial history is preserved at the Partition Museum at Town Hall Amritsar that is still quite underrated as a tourist spot. The museum was built with the aim to be a central repository of the documents, archives, stories and history of the tragic partition that divided the two countries during the declaration of self rule and independence on 1947. The museum was first inaugurated on August 25, 2017.
History of Partition
The partition which was a diplomatic move by the then imperialist British government, marked the beginning of an era of hate, chaos, communal riots and loss of lives that are still taking its toll over the two neighboring countries that inherently share more good than bad that has went unseen ever since. The arbitrarily drawn line on a piece of paper that was the then map of India, divided the two lands into India and Pakistan. This was done by the British lawyer Cyril Radcliffe.
This line divided the old state of Punjab into West Punjab and East Punjab. Millions of people found themselves on the wrong side of the border, overnight that was made on the basis of religion. Thus, ensued a bloody battle of communal riots, loss of livelihood, heart-break and tragic separation of friends and families that otherwise co-existed in peace. Estimates suggest that more than 800,000 Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs were massacred in riots that followed after the partition in 1947 and 1948. The partition also gave birth to 1,400,000 refugees that had their lives uprooted in the blink of an eye. The museum aims to commemorate the struggles and pain of the residents of Punjab and others who were affected by the partition along with The Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust of the United Kingdom.
Inside the Museum
The museum is a rich reserve of artifacts donated generously by those that survived the partition. As people migrated to their designated part of the bordered land, they carried with them the most valuable items as little of them that could be transported. These are the only pieces that remain as testament to the history that have been donated by the families.
Among those that were deported also consisted of artists, poets and lyricists who have since documented their struggles and the harrows of the incident through their paintings and poetry that the museum has preserved. Artists like Satish Gujral, realized much later in life that his art was deeply influenced by the traumas of the partition wherein he had to move up and down the border trying to escort the refugees to safety. Similar is the story of SL Parasher who has spent a large chunk of his life in refugee camps before rebuilding it from scratch in a new land.
There are also multi-media and audio visual stations at the museum across all 14 galleries that capture and depict the voices that were silenced during the riots. More than 100 interviews of the survivors and those that couldn’t survive currently play in the museum, depicting the stories of hate and horror. There are oral histories, artifacts of the families left behind and those that were brought to the new land, art that depicts the dark history and archival material like photographs and documents that remain testament to bloody past.
The museum working hours and the days are as follows:
- Tuesday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Thursday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Friday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Sunday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Closed on Mondays, and national holidays 26 January, 15 August and 2 October
Indians : INR 10/-
Foreigners : INR 250/-
Children : Free for 5 and Below
Partition Survivors : Free
How to Reach the Museum
Here are the distances of the museum from famous landmarks in Punjab:
- 13 KMs away from Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport. Time to reach 25-30 minutes by car.
- 1 KMs away from Amritsar Junction Railway Station. Time to reach 10 – 15 minutes by car.
- 950 meters from Madan Lal Dhingra Inter-State Bus Terminal. Time to reach 7 – 10 minute by car.
All hire cabs and traditional cabs are available to reach the museum, paid parking is also available at the Golden Temple parking lot which is around 2 mins walk away.
Tips for Visiting the Museum
The museum is situated at the tourist hub of Amritsar near the Golden Temple and Jalianwala Bagh, it is called as the People’s museum and is built with the donations and personal stories. When visiting the spot it is best to keep an hour handy to get the full tour of the museum if history is something you are interested in. some popular eateries like Brother’s Dhaba and a popular eating joint is located right next to the museum along with Hall Market which is a great place to shop for local specialties.
Suggested Tour :
- 7 Days – Golden Triangle with Golden Temple Tour
- 16 Days – North India Holiday Package
- 18 Days – Extensive North India Tour
Note : These itineraries has not covered Partition Museum, but these are customized and you can add or remove
Also Read :