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National Museum for Performing Arts

National Museum for Performing Arts

Museum and Gallery of Musical Instruments

The main aim of the Sangeet Natak Akademi is the preservation and promotion of performing arts in India. In furtherance of its objectives, the Akademi, together with its manifold activities maintains a museum and gallery of musical instruments. It showcases the rich heritage and legacy of performing arts as well as musical instruments from different regions of the country. While on the one hand it provides research material to scholars and specialists it has been useful for documentation work, for students of all levels, and to those members of the general public who are interested in performing arts and music.
The collection comprises over 2000 objects relating to the performing arts. These include musical instruments, masks, puppets and headgears.

Gallery of Musical Instruments- “Asavari”

The Gallery of Musical Instruments was inaugurated by the distinguished violinist, Yehudi Menuhin on 13 February 1964. Methodical collection began in 1968 with the Akademi organizing an exhibition of about 400 folk and tribal musical instruments in Delhi. Acquisitions have been made regularly since then, and the holdings supplemented by gifts from musicians and visiting troupes. 
There are about 600 musical instruments, out of which 250 are on permanent display representing instruments from different streams of music. The instruments have been classified as:
Wind instruments (aero phonic) including Bansuri and Nagaswaram;
String instruments (chordophonic) including Dilruba and Veena;
Percussion instruments (membrano phonic) including Tabla, Mridangam and (idio phonic) Bortal, and Ghatam.
Among the rare instruments are the Kachwa Sitar of North India and Gettu Vadyam of Tamil Nadu.


The gallery has also a variety of masks from all over India. These include Chhau masks of Jharkhand, Zari masks of Uttar Pradesh and Krishnattam masks from Kerala.


The large collection of puppets in the museum include the Kathputli ( string puppets) of Rajasthan, Benir Putul ( glove puppets ) of West Bengal, Kalasutri Bahulya ( string puppets) of Maharashtra, Tolu Bomalatta ( shadow puppets) of Andhra Pradesh and many more.*


A number of exhibitions of musical instruments, masks and puppets from the Akademi’s collection have been held in India and other countries. Some of the notable exhibitions of musical instruments abroad were in Hong Kong (1979), Rome (1987), and Moscow (1987). A two-day seminar on folk instruments was organized in 1968 on the occasion of the exhibition of musical instruments in Delhi. An exhibition on the theme of ‘Changing Perspectives in Music’ was presented on the occasion of the India International Music Festival in February-March 1993.

Recent exhibitions:
Spain (Vadya Darshan)
Egypt (Vadya Darshan)
Uzbekistan (Vadya Darshan) 21-23 April 2003
Spain (Putul Yatra)
Russia (Putul Yatra) 26 Sept-2nd Oct 2005

Seoul (Putul Yatra) 11-13th Oct 2006
Brussels (Vadya Darshan) October 2006
Norway (Putul Yatra) 
Australia (Putul Yatra) 2007

The Gallery provides information on musical instruments and other objects in its collection to researchers and other specialist visitors. Facilities for photography and films are also provided.

Sangeet Natak Akademi's Library

Over the years the Akademi has acquired a small but specialized collection of books on music, dance, and drama comprising over 20,000 volumes. The books are chiefly in English and Hindi, although several other Indian languages are also represented, such as Marathi, Bengali and Tamil. A number of journals of performing arts, Indian and foreign, are available in the library; the files of back numbers are especially useful to researchers. The library also maintains files on personalities in the performing arts, consisting of clippings from newspapers and periodicals.


The library is open from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. from Monday to Friday.


A minimum 15-20 users visit the library on any given working day, making it one of the most sought after special library.


Photostat facilities are available at the library on all working days.

In Progress

Computerisation and Digitisation of Biographical Information.


A refundable library security deposit of Rs. 100/- for bonafide students and Researches & Scholars. Out station Scholars are exempted from the requirement.

Books Consulted

On an average 200 books are referred by members everyday.

Classification System

Dewey Decimal Classification 20th Edition with Exclusive scheme Division for Indian Dance, Drama & Music for Library. 
Performer wise Index. Raga Index. Music categories index for Audio Visual Library

Cataloguing system

Anglo American Cataloguing rulesII (AACR-II) for Books & Non-Books materials.

Sangeet Natak Akademi's Auditoriums

Meghdoot Theatre I (Open Auditorium)

Meghdoot Theatre II (Semi open Auditorium)

Meghdoot Theatre III


National Record 2012

Most comprehensive state website

Bihar became the first state in India to have separate web page for every city and village in the state on its website www.brandbihar.com (Now www.brandbharat.com)

See the record in Limca Book of Records 2012 on Page No. 217