The art of historical reflections – down memory lane

On the occasion of 70th birthday of Pakistan, one of the ways to rejoice the freedom could be visiting the museums of the country to relish the artifacts and historical symbols displayed there. Plethora of objects, each foretelling their unique tales are present at the museums in Pakistan that can soon turn out to be an interesting and informative treat for the travelers.
Here are few worth exploring:

Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH)
Established in 1976, This public Natural History Museum is located in the capital city of Islamabad. It features loads of exhibits and galleries which display and provide information about the ecology, geology and paleontology of the country. With nearly more than 300,000 objects on display, a lot of research projects unfold here in collaboration with the Lok Virsa Museum. Under the management of Pakistan Science Foundation, this museum is a rare treat for history buffs.
Some of the famous galleries within the museum include:

  • Biological Gallery – The varied bounty of wild flora and fauna present in Pakistan are shown here with respect to their habitats.
  • Ecological Gallery - An educational section where ecological cycles, habitats and environmental problems are discussed through visuals and audios.
  • Gemstones Gallery – An amazing display of precious gems in their raw and well cut and polished forms can be seen here.
  • Paleontology Gallery – Age old fossils along with their origin are on display here along with paintings and writings including a skull of Australopithecus. Wall paintings depict the pre-historic era.
  • Tethys Gallery – The topical features of Pakistan including oceanology, petrology, pedology and mineralogy are discussed here via a three-dimensional diorama of seascapes as well as a skeleton of a whale. Different aspects of the famous salt Range are also studied in detail.

Heritage Lok Virsa Museum
This museum located in Islamabad city is a treasure trove of cultural artifacts of our rich traditions. The living style of the different areas of Pakistan is exhibited here in statues, pictures, pottery, music and textile work.

The museum also known as the Folk Heritage Museum run by the National Institute of Folk & Traditional Heritage represents art works towards preserving the living folk and traditional culture and crafts of Pakistan.

Located near the environs of Shakarparian Hills, the museum is a rare treat to absorb and enjoy the cultural lifestyle of Pakistan through embroidered costumes, jewellery, woodwork, metalwork, block printing, ivory and bone work. Traditional architecture facades exhibiting such skills as fresco, mirror work and marble inlay; tile, mosaic and stucco tracery are also displayed.

The visitors can also enjoy a leisurely trip to the The Lok Virsa Heritage Reference Library that is stock full of resource data on ethnography, anthropology, folk music, art, history and crafts. Visitors can relish the flavours of many books on culture and heritage which are available for sale.

Pakistan Railways Heritage Museum
This is one of the major attractions of the city when one travels to Islamabad. Located 1,994 ft above sea level, it lies in the southeast of the Margalla Hills and east of the cradle of Gandhara civilization, the ancient city of Taxila. This railway station is the site of a venerated Railway Museum housing the relics and memorabilia associated with railways dating back to the days of the British Raj. The Railways station with its museum is a major attraction for tourists and locals alike and is becoming a major attraction for railway enthusiasts.

Established in 2003, The Railway Heritage Museum is housed in three different halls to contain artifacts reflecting history of Railway over a period of more than 150 years including almost 100 years of undivided India. One part of the museum displays cranes, trolleys, locomotives, coaches and tracks to mark the progression of technology over the years. The museum houses an impressive blend of artifacts covering the many facets of the railways systems. Mechanical models, signaling systems, communication tools and the evolution of operational protocols are preserved and chronologically displayed in the museum.

An interesting part of the museum are the extinct railway systems including the steam and electric locomotives, a German postal car, a saloon car used by the last Indian viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, and another saloon car belonging to the Maharaja of Jodhpur.

The other feasts for the eyes of the travelers include the well preserved saloon cars along with an art gallery and a café for the weary travelers.

Peshawar Gandhara Museum
Housed in the artistic façade, the famous Peshawar Gandhara Museum is a must visit for an interesting find on tribal lineage of this area. Founded as a tribute to Queen Victoria in 1907, the museum's construction displays a combination of British, South Asian, Hindu, Mughal Islamic, and Buddhist architectural styles. Huge collection of Buddhist objects are at display at the museum, which shows sculptures of Buddha and tells his life story. Travelers can learn a lot about the past history of this region through the vast collection of pre-Islamic coins. A gallery of Mughal and Persian art shows facades of mosques, weapons, and metal artifacts that can narrate a great deal about the historical relevance of this area. This museum is a must visit for those who are in quest to learn more about the rich Gandhara Civilization and the impact of Greek, Roman and Persians on this land.

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